In recent years, I’ve not had many positive things to say about Belle and Sebastian.  The older material remains an essential listen and part of the collection, but almost everything since 2006 has felt below-par.

I didn’t rush out and buy the new album, but my good mate Aldo recommended it highly as a return to form, and so I took the plunge.

The reviews for A Bit Of Previous seem to be mixed.  There are some who praise it for the fact that in many places it fits in musically with many of the very early EPs and LPs, but others have said things such as it lacking the depth and storytelling brilliance that once made B&S so exciting.

Me?   Well, it would take something truly astonishing to be up there with If You’re Feeling Sinister (1996) and The Boy With The Arab Strap (1998), but then again the band has a slightly different line-up from those days and everyone involved has enjoyed or endured life experiences which shape and mould the way they go about their craft.  I think it’s an excellent record, one which, like those earlier releases, has the feel of Glasgow all the way through it, which is no surprise given that the pandemic led to a cancellation of plans for it to be recorded somewhere exotic and expensive, and instead in a very small adapted studio in the city that was previously largely used by the band for rehearsals.  Here’s the opening track:-

mp3: Belle and Sebastian – Young and Stupid

The liner notes which come with the album are an excellent read, with various band members reflecting on how COVID meant it had to be put together in a way none of them were now used to. The liner notes are also illustrated by some excellent photos which capture Glasgow and the surrounding areas during lockdown periods.  Now that things have more or less returned to normal in terms of crowds and gatherings, it is a reminder of how calm and peaceful everywhere was for a short time.

Here’s the promo.

If that didn’t put a smile on your face this Tuesday morning, then there’s no hope for you.



  1. I thinks it’s a good lp whilst not having the one track that is a B and S classic . The LP is certainly better than their last . However I really liked Girls in Peacetime with the opening track Nobody’s Empire I think one of their best

  2. Saw them on Friday night in Bristol. Still worth seeing live. Stuart looking very trim and looked glad to be playing live again!

  3. I’m enjoying the new album, bit of a grower, three or four new classics so far which isn’t bad. 2015’s Girls in Peacetime has at least six bangers, in my opinion, so was a good return to form since their 90s best.

    There are a couple of recent B&S performances at NPR radio and KEXP on YouTube that are worth a watch, touring the new album, playing some new stuff and some old.

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