This New Belle and Sebastian Album Promises to Solve All Your Problems

The band’s sparkling songs range from peppy dance grooves to fuzzy faux psychedelia.

Album Review

Belle and Sebastian
How to Solve Our Human Problems
Matador

For more than two decades, Scotland’s Belle and Sebastian has championed the virtues of old-fashioned pop music, crafting gorgeous, compassionate tunes that balance heartbreak and hope without descending to sentimental mush. Echoing a trio of their releases from the ’90s, How to Solve Our Human Problems is a series of three five-song EPs the group began issuing on a monthly basis starting in December, with all 15 tracks to be compiled for a proper album this February. As always, leader Stuart Murdoch and company incorporate a deceptively wide range of sounds into their sparkling songs, from peppy dance grooves to fuzzy faux psychedelia to embellishments like brass and pedal steel. Every track features memorable touches: “Poor Boy,” for example, deftly draws on the interplay between the vocals of Murdoch and Sarah Martin in an intriguing vignette about the clash between romantic fantasy and cold reality. A balm for the daily blahs, How to Solve Our Human Problems feels both timeless and remarkably fresh.