Album Preview: “Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance”


Album Preview: “Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance”

by Sarah Jarvis


Belle & Sebastian stopped in Phoenix last month as part of an international tour heralding the release their next album GIrls in Peacetime Want to Dance in January.


The Scottish pop group is fronted by Stuart Murdoch, who also dabbles in writing, directing, and producing. The show was slated to take place at Civic Space Park downtown but moved to The Orpheum Theatre due to potential rain. It was jolly gathering of flannel-clad twenty-somethings singing along to the narratives of “Piazza, New York Catcher” and “The Boy With The Arab Strap.”

The band also shared a new song called “Perfect Couples” from the forthcoming album. It is a tune that deviates from the classic B&S song in it’s reliance on percussion—bongos at that. While it’s possible that this tune signals a shift in style for the indie pop band, “Perfect Couples” will likely prove to be another creative burst from the group akin to “Electronic Renaissance” from Tigermilk.

Belle & Sebastian started in 1996 in Glasgow, Scotland. Murdoch and founding member Stuart David recorded their debut album, Tigermilk, on Stow college’s music label. By their third and most critically acclaimed album, The Boy with the Arab Strap, they had gained international attention. The current six core band members are often accompanied by a troupe of other musicians — totaling 13 members at the show in Phoenix.

Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance may prove to be another installment in Belle & Sebastian’s consistent blending of social commentary and quirky narratives — though this album may lean more heavily on the political side. Murdoch told The Quietus that he does not consider GIPWTD a political album, but that he has become more aware of “the outside world” with age.

“You start looking around you a bit more when you’re older,” he said. “I was interested in similar characters, but perhaps considering how the political world affects them.”

Murdoch also delves into his own past with the song “Nobody’s Empire” that addresses his experiences with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, according to The Quietus.

The band has shown signs of a more expansive instrumentation, as mentioned with the bongos. According to Stereogum, Matador Records has called it “the most inspired and wide-reaching album Belle and Sebastian have ever made.”

Most excitingly, GIPWTD has a disco track about Sylvia Plath.

All things considered, this album is a must-listen for any gentle-pop lover come January.


Photo by Sarah Jarvis