Belle & Sebastian How To Solve Our Human Problems (Part 1) 12" Vinyl EP
12" Vinyl EP!
Part 1 of Trilogy Of EPs!
A new Belle and Sebastian release is always something to cheer. So three new
releases leads to the inevitable conclusion: three cheers! Here is the latest
installment in a career that has always pursued a singular and delightful vision
of what pop represents and what it can achieve, a career that has seen them
triumph against the odds to win a Brit award, be one of the first bands to
curate their own festival, and play at the official London residence of the US
ambassador (the last president’s ambassador, not the current one’s).
Murdoch, as ever, is not the only writer. Sarah Martin (violin/vocals) brought
in the delicious ‘The Same Star’, which marries Belle and Sebastian’s
melodiousness to a pounding Motown backbeat, and was produced by Leo Abrahams (Ghostpoet,
Wild Beasts, Regina Spektor). “We’d met Leo in February of 2016, and I’d say
that meeting and the recording of ‘I’ll Be Your Pilot’ were the first tangible
steps of this EP project,” Martin says. “We didn’t have a stack of songs to play
him, but we liked him and he became a part of the plan from that point - and
when I’d got to a point with ‘The Same Star’ where it just needed to be
recorded, I thought it could benefit from having a producer to steer things, and
fortunately we had a slot in the diary marked ‘Leo’ coming up. It’s not a song
we’d laboured over playing for months - it fell together quite quickly thanks in
large part to Bob’s [Bobby Kildea, guitarist] enthusiasm and Stuart’s
willingness to dismember an old song and repurpose the break, so that it wasn’t
just the same three chords over and over and over.”
There’s one big reason why 15 songs are coming out on three EPs, rather than one
album. "We’d made a couple of LPs, Tigermilk and If You’re Feeling Sinister,
within the space of six months," Murdoch says, remembering the early days of the
band’s career, and how that fed into their decision-making this time.
Harkening back to their 1997 release of three consecutive EPs (‘Dog On Wheels’,
‘Lazy Line Painter Jane’, and ‘3.. 6.. 9 Seconds Of Light’), Belle and Sebastian
now release three new EPs under the umbrella title ‘How To Solve Our Human
Problems’. The EP trilogy culminate with a limited vinyl box set containing all
three EPs, with the option of a box just for EP3 for those who have already
purchased 1 and 2.
Belle and Sebastian's song titled “I’ll Be Your Pilot” can be found on EP2. The
single takes as its subject Stuart Murdoch’s young son: “Having your first kid
is a huge event, so I wrapped a lot of things I felt about Denny into the song.
Being a dad made me feel a little like the pilot in The Little Prince, hence all
the references to the Sahara!”
Just as those three early EPs are a crucial part of the Belle and Sebastian
canon, these three new releases aren’t merely a detour between albums, but as
definitive releases in their own right. ‘How To Solve Our Human Problems’ is
both an era of its own, and part of a long, rich history. ‘How To Solve Our
Human Problems’ is, if you like, Belle and Sebastian Redux.
When Belle and Sebastian felt new music percolating, they decided to break from
the working methods of the recent years and instead stay at home, record the
tracks as and when, often producing themselves, working with friends and
collaborators to see what emerged. Working in Glasgow gave them the freedom to
work without the constraints that making an album can impose: they could take
their time honing and experimenting.
One thing that has defined Belle and Sebastian has been their relationship with
fans, and that’s apparent in the new EPs. For the three sleeves, the group
issued a call to fans to come to be photographed by Murdoch at a studio in
Belsize Park in North London. Fifty were selected, and all those photographed
were also recorded answering the question: “How do you solve your human
• 12' Vinyl EP (Part 1)
• Lyrics printed on back cover
1. Sweet Dew Lee
2. We Were Beautiful
3. Fickle Season
4. The Girl Doesn't Get It
5. Everything Is Now