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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KT Tunstall – KIN: Pull it apart and put it back together how you want it.

2016_kttunstall_kinArtist: KT Tunstall
Album: KIN
Year: 2016
Grade: B

In Brief: It’s not as bold and inventive in the production and songwriting department as Tiger Suit, but KT wanted to make another pop album after the stark, downbeat Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon, and I’ve got to admit that this side of her is more my speed.

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Chvrches – Every Open Eye: Yov still jvst can’t get enovgh.

2015_Chvrches_EveryOpenEyeArtist: Chvrches
Album: Every Open Eye
Year: 2015
Grade: A-

In Brief: It’s a shade lighter and more optimistic than The Bones of What You Believe, and its deep cuts aren’t quite as exploratory as the ones on that album, but it’s still a powerhouse synthpop album that wears its 80s influences loud and proud. Chvrches may need to shake up the formula next time around, but for now I’m glad they’re sticking to their guns.

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

2015_BelleSebastian_GirlsinPeacetimeWanttoDanceArtist: 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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