Belle & Sebastian – How to Solve Our Human Problems: We were beautiful before we got wise.

Artist: Belle & Sebastian
Album: How to Solve Our Human Problems
Year: 2017/2018
Grade: B+

In Brief: Spreading this collection of songs over three separately released EPs made it a little easier to digest this wealth of new material, but it also gives the impression that there was no real master plan for most of it to fit together cohesively. It’s always great to see Belle & Sebastian expanding their musical horizons, and there honestly isn’t a weak track in the bunch. But the collection lacks a central sense of identity, which makes me wonder whether the band is done with traditional “album releases” and would rather just put out music in a more “stream-of-consciousness” fashion in the future.

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Belle & Sebastian – Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance: Be popular, play pop, and you will win my love.

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Artist: Belle & Sebastian
Album: Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance
Year: 2015
Grade: B+

In Brief: While the band’s bold leap into dance-pop territory is going to ruffle the feathers of longtime fans, that sound accounts for maybe a third of a record that’s stuffed with equal parts up-tempo surprises and warm, laid-back familiarity. It may feel like more of a mixtape than a cohesive album, but the diversity of Girls is one of its biggest strengths, making most of its hour-plus a sheer delight to get lost in.

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Empire of the Sun – Walking on a Dream: Party Like It’s Nineteen Eighty… Seventy… Something.

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Artist: Empire of the Sun
Album: Walking on a Dream
Year: 2008
Grade: C+

In Brief: Hook-heavy, nostalgic pop music that manages to be enjoyable despite its inherent goofiness. Your enjoyment of this album will probably be inversely proportional to how seriously you assume these two guys take themselves.

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