New Reels: ‘The Party Line’ by Belle & Sebastian

It’s been the best part of 20 years since this Scottish outfit released their highly-lauded debut Tigermilk. Since then they have been high on plaudits but fairly low on commercial success. Belle & Sebastian are one of the ever-present bands who seem to toil away in the background releasing interesting records whilst less tuneful yet more ambitious acts grab the limelight.

Yet one gets the impression that both the band and their ardent supporters are very comfortable with them being a ‘cult’ band. B&S have something of the outsider about them, kind of like the geeky kid at school who the more popular kids are happy to ignore but is seen as super cool by those who bother to take notice.

So what we get with this, the lead single from their forthcoming album Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance, is the sound of that geeky kid all grown up and expanding his social horizons. The video, directed by Canadian’s LeBlanc & Cudmore (who’ve also worked with the likes of Alt-J and The New Pornographers), depicts a single night out in three slightly different ways with the female protagonist seemingly losing out at the end. It suits the dance-pop sound of the song perfectly, and the refrain of “jump to the beat of the party line” soon burrows it’s way under your skin. This is assured stuff from all concerned and although it probably won’t be a hit it will certainly do nothing to harm their status as quite a few people’s second or third favourite band.

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