6. Belle and Sebastian, “Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance”

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Having gotten God Help The Girl out of his system, Stuart Murdoch returns to what he does best, and he’s rarely done it better than on opener “Nobody’s Empire”. Neatly melding the band’s early twee pop with all the groovier, more modern touches that subsumed it on later recordings, it’s an anthem as stirring and powerful as anything Abba or New Order ever did, and it’s the only the beginning. The rest easily constitutes their most consistent set since Dear Catastrophe Waitress—all the more remarkable for packing in everything from earnest stabs at retro disco (“The Party Line”) and flickering Eurodisco (“Enter Sylvia Plath”) to an extended samba (“Play For Today”), a dreamy closer (“Today (This Army’s For Peace”) and of course, the “sad bastard” music they more or less perfected from the start (“The Cat With The Cream”). It’s been almost twenty years since If You’re Feeling Sinister, and amazingly, they sound as vital as ever.

Favorite tracks: “Nobody’s Empire”, “The Party Line”, “Enter Sylvia Plath”, “Play For Today”

“Nobody’s Empire”:

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