In their now 25-year existence, Scottish folk-pop outfit Belle & Sebastian have kept their sound very close to their heart. With a wave of euphoric and uplifting full-lengths under their belt, the band have been rarely seen to break away from their core direction, proving that their warm and wistful aesthetic has an extremely timeless feel to it and has allowed them to continue their chosen path well into this new decade. But rather than a straight-up new collection, their tenth LP 'Days Of The Bagnold Summer' is their first film soundtrack, something that they have yet to conceive but still manage to made a strong go of.
From the very start, 'Days Of The Bagnold Summer' plays very much like a film of its own. Warming up the audience with the instrumental lullaby 'Sister Buddha (Intro)' as we get ourselves settled in, the record then continues the soft and lilting vocals of joint singers Stuart Murdoch and Sarah Martin more than they usually pair up, most likely to mirror the male and female characters at the centre of the film's story. Yet while it fills itself with that focused Belle & Sebastian sound we have grown to love, it never quite lifts itself to the heights we are used to, knowing full well that it is only a bit player in a much larger project.
Fans of the group will find plenty to enjoy on here, but 'Days Of The Bagnold Summer' just doesn't have that special spark we were looking for. Instead the band downplay their songs so as to not creating an overbearing sound on the film we know they will be attached to, giving us some beautifully conceived scores but not enough to truly pique our interests.