Belle & Sebastian are back with their first single since 2010’s Write About Love, and it’s positively danceable. Playfully returning to the ’80s synth grooves of albums like Dear Catastrophe Waitress and The Life Pursuit, “The Party Line” is not so much a new direction as a renewed commitment to an old one—and a suggestion that the title of their just-announced forthcoming album, Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance, may be a clue to its sound.
As the veterans continue to harness new, more pop-driven soundscapes in their work, their trademark wry sensibility thankfully still lingers beneath the surface. What other band could pair the momentum of a funky groove with lyrics like “I am leaving many people feeling worse than before”?
(Answer: The same one that made a song called “Get Me Away From Here, I’m Dying” an upbeat romp.)