How to Solve Our Human Problems, Pts. 1-3

How to Solve Our Human Problems, Pts. 1-3

by Belle and Sebastian


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On the eve of launching Belle and Sebastian's project How to Solve Our Human Problems, leader Stuart Murdoch explained his band's decision to release a series of three interlocked EPs instead of a long-player with this: "I think these days when an LP comes out, it's kind of disappointing. Nothing seems to happen, and I thought, 'We've got to do something different.'" Murdoch's way to combat the digital grind harks back to Belle and Sebastian's earliest days, when the group released a series of three EPs between 1996's If You're Feeling Sinister and 1998's The Boy with the Arab Strap, but those releases were spaced out over the course of 1997, where each of the installments of How to Solve Our Human Problems arrived in succession in the first months of 2018. Consequently, all three Human Problems EPs feel cut from the same cloth, all buzzing to a stylish good vibe pitched halfway between '60s modernism and '70s disco. Since this is a series of five-song EPs, Human Problems isn't paced like an LP, which is a benefit. Perhaps there are moments that drift, such as the mellow bachelor pad neo-instrumental "Everything Is Now," but they're designed that way, offering color and texture to music that already had a surplus of both. Like any good EPs, the mild throwaways wind up as endearing as the major items on Human Problems, since they keep the 20-plus minutes of music cooking and provide plenty of room for such fetching accents as oboes and analog synths. Taken as a whole piece, though, the striking thing about How to Solve Our Human Problems is neither the finely honed sense of craft -- evident in both the compositions and sharp production -- nor how the group now excels in churning out a disco epic like the six-minute "Sweet Dew Lee." Rather, it's how Belle and Sebastian have completely devoted themselves to joy, squeezing out any remnants of melancholy that may have lingered in their music. In an era of darkness and confusion, such defiant positivity feels bracingly radical.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/16/2018
Label: Matador Records
UPC: 0744861112327
catalogNumber: 11123
Rank: 30501

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Belle and Sebastian   Primary Artist
Mark Henderson   Flute,Oboe,Tenor Saxophone
Andy Thompson   Glockenspiel
Jesse Peterson   Violin
Leo Abrahams   Synthesizer,Guitar
Zach Miller   Glockenspiel,Vibes
Emily MacLaren   Percussion
Anna Miles   Vocals
Dave McGowan   Bass,Guitar,Percussion,Pedal Steel Guitar,Bass Guitar
Josh Misner   Violin
Erica Burton   Viola
Robert Henderson   Trumpet
William Moriconi   Oboe
Inflo   Synthesizer,Percussion,Vocals
Sarah Perbix   French Horn
Cory Grossman   Cello
Cameron Kinghorn   Trumpet
Brian McNeill   Keyboards,Electric Piano,Clavinet
Celia Carcia   Vocals
Carla Easton   Vocals
Therese Martin   Vocals

Technical Credits

Paul Savage   Producer,Engineer
Stuart Evans   Producer,Engineer
Belle and Sebastian   Composer,Producer
Andy Thompson   Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements
Leo Abrahams   Sound Effects,Producer
Kevin Burleigh   Engineer
Emily MacLaren   Producer,Engineer
Inflo   Producer
Ronan Fay   Engineer
Brian McNeill   Producer,Engineer,drum programming
Carla Easton   Composer
Emma Durnan   Sleeve Design
Rob Parker   Assistant Photographer
Matt Goodwill   Assistant Photographer

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