Change is an unnerving and unsettling thing, but sometimes it's necessary. Belle and Sebastian may have previously made multiple perfect albums filled with lilting melodies and exacting, evocative lyrics, but the band can't make the same album over and over, forever.
Ever since the quasi-disco hit of "Your Cover's Blown" from their 2004 EP Books, the band has shied away from its long-standing formula of setting biting lyrics about human drama to preciously quiet pop melodies. It now makes songs with similar themes, but the music itself is more alive. The songs are just as well-crafted as earlier works, but less soporific. "I Want the World to Stop," from the soon-to-be-released Write About Love, has the soft energy of an upbeat swing orchestra, like a velvet glove cast in something more malleable than iron. Bright and welcoming, it's all tempered with the dark brood of Stuart Murdoch's timbre.
It's hard not to look back on the older songs and wonder why Belle and Sebastian can't make "Fox in the Snow" or "Judy and the Dream of Horses" in perpetuity. This song is something different, albeit not entirely disparate from earlier work--just a new direction.