By Alex HudsonTwee pop fans rejoice - Belle and Sebastian have announced their first shows in nearly four years. The iconic Scottish ensemble have been on hiatus since the summer of 2006, when front-man Stuart Murdoch put the group on hold to work on his musical narrative God Help the Girl. Now, the singer has returned his focus to his original group, who are reportedly gearing up for a busy year of performing and recording.
In a message sent around to members of their mailing list, the band said, "We've been in the studio these last few weeks writing some new tracks and shortly we will say cheerio to Glasgow for a while when we set off to L.A. to record our next album."
Although no further details about the recording sessions are currently available, perhaps this means they will be reconvening at the Sound Factory with Tony Hoffer, with whom they recorded 2006's The Life Pursuit.
This confirms Belle and Sebastian's previous hints that they would be working on new material; back in November, they asked, "could that be another B&S record on the horizon?"
As well as working on their new album, Belle and Sebastian have also scheduled a small handful of shows for this summer. They'll be playing festival dates in Finland, Norway and Japan, and promise that they will unveil their first UK show "sometime next week."
As for whether they will be playing any North American shows anytime soon, we'll just have to wait and see. Still, this in itself is a lot to be grateful for, since this is the first time in a long time that a Belle and Sebastian concert has even been a possibility.