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‘How to Solve Our Human Problems’ review: Serious issues, breezy pop

Belle and Sebastian's "How to Solve Our Human

Belle and Sebastian's "How to Solve Our Human Problems, Part 1" kicks off the Scottish band's three-EP project. Credit: Matador


“How to Solve Our Human Problems, Part 1”

BOTTOM LINE Attacking thorny issues with breezy, ’80s-influenced pop.

Belle & Sebastian wasn’t kidding around when it named its latest project — a series of three EPs scheduled to be released this month and next — “How to Solve Our Human Problems” (Matador).

The first installment outlines plenty of problems in the current state of the world. The first single, “We Were Beautiful,” carves up a gorgeous synthesizer landscape with a nervous, glitchy beat and a torrent of images of loss delivered by singer Stuart Murdoch, declaring, “We were beautiful before this went down.”

The Scottish band is even more direct in the bouncy “The Girl Doesn’t Get It.” Somehow, the message seems even more harrowing when delivered on top of a breezy pop melody that sounds like the theme of an ’80s British sitcom. “They’ll take profits over people,” Murdoch warns, putting the language of protest in a soothing context. “They will make the country great again just as long as it’s white and ugly.”

The peppiness helps with some of the song’s proposed solutions like “You should dance till your heart is joyful” and pretty much guarantees people will seek out more advice.

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