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Album Review

Belle and Sebastian, 'Write About Love'

October 11, 2010

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Four years since its last offering, Belle & Sebastian pick up exactly where it left off — more or less — as a confident, pop-obsessed band that is just as interested in replicating the 1960s harmonies of the Zombies as it is in forwarding the cause of well-produced baroque rock. “Write About Love,’’ in true Belle & Sebastian style, is not the paean to cuddly affection and lacy underthings that it teases at. There is more than a sneer of bitterness in songs such as “Calculating Bimbo.’’ But “Write About Love’’ remains imminently listenable. The slow build of trinkets such as “I Want the World to Stop,’’ shows just how far Stuart Murdoch and his once awkward compatriots have come. Fans hoping for the delicate warble of “The State That I Am In’’ will remain disappointed at the band’s continued charge into lush, urgent orchestrations, but what orchestrations they are. Swirling strings and Mellotron riffs waltz with Murdoch’s flat voice, while Sarah Martin continues to develop as a pivotal, wispy pillar for the band. It is a formula that B&S has been following since “Dear Catastrophe Waitress,’’ but you’ll hear no complaints from us.

CHRISTOPHER MUTHER

ESSENTIAL “I Didn’t See It Coming’’

Belle and Sebastian plays the Citi Wang Theatre on Oct. 15.