Published Feb 16, 2018Belle and Sebastian's How to Solve Our Human Problems isn't so much an EP series as it is a single album broken into three serialized instalments. And the series has been getting stronger as it has progressed: after the hit-or-miss Part 1 and the mostly solid Part 2, final instalment Part 3 is the strongest of the bunch.
Much like the other EPs, Part 3 is stylistically all over the map, touching on sounds that B&S have explored throughout their 22-year career. Opener "Poor Boy" is a disco-dazzled duet with funky bass syncopations, while "There Is an Everlasting Song" is a gentle folk ditty and the soaring baroque pop of "Everything Is Now (Part Two)" is far superior sequel to a directionless cut from Part 1.
Intriguingly, the opulent strings and female guest vocalists of "Too Many Tears" and "Best Friend" make those tracks sound like particularly strong outtakes from frontman Stuart Murdoch's God Help the Girl project.
Releasing How to Solve Our Human Problems as three five-song EPs presumably helped to maximize B&S's press coverage, although it's tempting to imagine how it might have sounded as a single album. With a few of the duds from prior EPs removed, this could have been a very solid 10-track album. In any case, this project is going out on a high note. (Matador)