The Life Pursuit - Belle & Sebastian
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Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 112 Ratings

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  • Summary: Tony Hoffer produced this seventh studio LP for the veteran Scottish indie-pop band.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. The Life Pursuit is an immaculate album; Belle & Sebastian craft pure pop perfection better than just about anybody.
  2. There's still plenty about the group to satisfy long-time fans, and there's a wealth of quality and innovation to win them some new ones.
  3. The band's latest extends their newfound confidence to content as well as delivery, and stands as the finest full-length by Stuart Murdoch and his shifting collaborators since [If You're Feeling Sinister].
  4. A broader sonic palette--including more overt silliness--gives Murdoch a chance to explore more moods, including some that are deceptively light. [Feb/Mar 2006, p.102]
  5. The Life Pursuit is all swaying tempos and vintage summer-sad melodies that sound like a postcard from home.
  6. The presence of more filler than is comfortable does not detract from the creative health in evidence on the better songs. [Feb 2006, p.100]
  7. Though these may succeed as pop songs, Belle & Sebastian ultimately subvert their appeal by contradicting precious, self-effacing sentiments with brash music.

See all 35 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 76 out of 82
  2. Negative: 4 out of 82
  1. Jun 11, 2013
    This is my first Metacritic review, and even though The Life Pursuit is 7 years old, I have to rave about this album. This is Belle and Sebastian at their best: catchy, well-crafted melodic indie-pop with thoughtful, self-aware lyrics. Highlights for me: Funny Little Frog's boppy piano pop and hilarious lyrics, and White Collar Boy's perfectly balanced mix of thumping drums, fuzzed out bass line, plus its subtle and not-so-subtle social commentary.
    If you like being happy, listen to this album.
  2. ALittleMulroneycakesSoBeguiling
    Feb 8, 2006
    "And lo, for the mighty Stuart of Murdoch and his Apostles did finally Release a New Album. And there was much rejoicing, for The Mulroneycakes did return to Metacritic to proclaim that it was good." Yes, it's Dear Catastrophe Waitress 2 and it's ace. Look how many people have called it "their best since If You're Feeling Sinister". It probably is, too. I loved Dear Catastrophe Waitress to little bits as well (to the extent that I actually posted an epic review of it on Christmas Day of all times). The Life Pursuit takes the template of DCW and uses it to build an album that leaves its predecessor in the dust. Anyone else notice that their influences seem to be moving forward in time as they go on? Early B&S was sixties as anything, but now we seem to be up to the mid-seventies - savour the squelchy glam-funk of White Collar Boy, or the frankly glitter-covered The Blues Are Still Blue, which features Murdoch doing quite a commendable impression of Marc Bolan, and the band doing an equally good impersonation of T-Rex with tambourines. And then there was Sukie in the Graveyard. The title, the lyrics, suggest another mid-paced, catchy, whimsical, string-drenched quasi-ballad about another sensitive girl. What we get is boisterous snyth-funk, half-rapped by Stuart Murdoch. Even knowing B&S' propensity for surprise, I was shocked at that first burst of power-Geddes. Not that they've left behind the fey indie pop with strings and horns and that simultaneously annoying and endearing thing where Stevie scrapes his finger across the guitar strings - Dress Up In You and Another Sunny Day will satiate your Feeling Sinister urges (if you don't mind a chorus centred around a swearword on the former, and why should you?). Oh, and then there's Funny Little Frog, which almost went top ten in this country and deserved to as well. I should point out that Sarah Martin's backing vocals are, at times, almost indistinguishable from the dear departed Isobel's by this stage. All that's missing is Stevie's song and Sarah's song - Murdoch's front and centre on all of these. Not that that's a bad thing - Stevie has a B-Side on the Funny Little Frog CD single, fact fans, and Sarah practically duets We Are The Sleepyheads - which incidentally is a highlight, another piece of lyrical dummy selling, reading like a creepier Fox In The Snow, but playing something like an energised Bowie pre-Eno. So many famous names glide through the listener's head as the album wears on...Bolan, Slade, Bowie, George Clinton for heaven's sake - Clinton collaborating with Stevie Wonder on Song for Sunshine. And yet it's all uniquely Belle and Sebastian in the final analyisis, and all the better for it. Blimey, even Playlouder like it, and they rode the post-Peasant B&S hatred bandwagon like they had Sitting Bull on their tail. What am I talking about? Look, speaking as Recognised Authority On Belle And Sebastian (in the Plymouth postal district), I can confirm: This Album Is Good. In fact, it probably IS their best since Sinister. There's a turn-up. Peace. Expand
  3. BernardA
    Mar 8, 2006
    This cd proves once again why I think that the B & S are one of the best bands of the last decade & a half. I know many people will compare this to IYFS & DCW but it is great on its own terms. Songs like Another Sunny Day, Funny Little Frog & Dress Up in You are classic B & S. Most of the other songs show the band going in a different directions with lots of success. I do hear some glam influences in songs llike The Blues are Still Blue. Another great release by the B & S. Expand
  4. Matt
    Feb 7, 2006
    Yes, it's different, but it's a good example of how pop doesn't have to be superficial.
  5. ZhibinD
    Feb 20, 2006
  6. MurrayC
    Feb 16, 2006
    A very welcome return to form- and then some. Lots of excellent music here for a sunny spring day (as hoped), and at least a couple surprises that make you want to groove long after the sun has set! Who would've foreseen "The Blues are Still Blue" from this band!? Great stuff. Expand
  7. JJ
    Feb 6, 2006
    belle & sebastian are overrated. none of their stuff actually sounds good.

See all 82 User Reviews