Christ, they've been making records for 20 years. So it makes sense that they've reached the '80s. But it's still whimsical, precious songs about youth and whatnot for everybody's favorite Scottish retro-indie-darlings. This record has a tremendous DIVERSITY to the sounds; some are the standard '60s ballads, but many are synthy and keytars and whatnot. But... this was a hard sell at first, but it totally works. I've fallen in love with this album, just like the others.
All tracks here are really worth a damn, but #10 is something really special, one of the very very best things B&S have created.
Stuart Murdoch sings on all tracks, except for 4 and 11 (Sarah Martin), and 10 (Murdoch is joined by Dee Dee of the Dum Dum Girls). FCC clean.
1. (5:08) **** Soft, lush insistent beat. Hooky, but also simple and cloyingly cute. But it's also what you get and need with B&S. I feel that in the world of B&S, this would be the sound of a military march.
2. (3:16) **** Ba-ba-ba-ba. Jaunty and fluty.
3. (4:14) **** Now here's a flashy drum-machine '80s elecro-dance jam. But it works. "Jump to the beat of the party line." Vampy and totally effective.
4. (3:57) ***** Sarah Martin sings. '80s magic-sounding synths (shoegazy) shine down. Hazy and beautiful yearning.
5. (5:17) **** FRAGILE. And slow. Classical strings through gauzy effects; pastoral shimmerings of Sir Walter Scott-esque nostalgia. So fragile. And slow.
6. (6:48) **** COCAINE-HYPER-SYNTH-DANCE-FURY. (This song is about Sylvia Plath?) Fast fast fast fast dancey dancey dancey, but great hooks.
7. (5:25) *** Slinky. Very slinky, soft drums and little more... until it goes all into some sort of Greek/Klezmer thing. Huh. Ultimately more folky than anything.
8. (5:29) ** African drums and finger-snapping. Zappy s/fx. Then disaffected MTV voices. Huh.
9. (4:21) ***** CLASSIC B&S. This could have been on If You're Feeling Sinister, sonically. Acoustic, soft, hurt ballad. Beauty.
10. (7:33) *************** One of the very best things B&S have ever done--a duet with Dee Dee Penny (of the Dum Dum Girls), with a full-on '81s hyper-dramatic weep-pop (Tears for Fears, U2), with some co-opting of African chanting at the end. But so goddamned beautiful and meaningless and wordless and ... just a very special song.
11. (4:23) ****** (Sarah Martin sings). Sounds like a video arcade + Tiffany's mall tour + My Bloody Valentine. And ye-ye. Kinda. Beautiful hooks, happy tune with sad nostalgia.
12. (5:25) *** Hazy warpy Donovanny soft ballad.