IT’S five years since Glasgow’s indiest band last released an LP, but having written, directed and soundtracked his own musical last year it’s fair to say main man Stuart Murdoch has kept himself busy.
With God Help the Girl proving such a success, it seems the songwriter is experiencing one of his more fertile creative phases, so it’s a shame the record at the end of it all isn’t one of his more distinguished.
Certainly, the magic which illuminated the group’s early classics and mid ‘00s resurgence is short on the ground - both in their leader’s contributions and those from bandmates Stevie Jackson and Sarah Martin.
That’s not, however, to say there aren’t moments of inspiration.
Gospel-tinged opener Nobody’s Empire, for instance, is a characteristic pop gem, described by Murdoch as “absolutely the most personal song I’ve ever written,” while the throbbing disco-stomp of The Party Line and Enter Sylvia Plath find the singer expertly channeling his inner Neil Tennant.
At over an hour, it’s also their longest LP to date, but for all the welcome bright spots and experimental flutters, this is a group who’re capable of better. 6/10. AW