Ah hell, has it really been four years already since the last Belbury Poly album? Feels like just yesterday. Since the music is crystallized in an amber gloss of ’60s Chyron clean, ’70s motorik burble and the vacuum glow of library music in any era before 1985, its always irrelevant what year it actually came out. Jim Jupp knows his playbook and he’s updating it a bit here with a skew that’s pushing further into the ’70s than he has on past records. There’s still plenty about Belbury that feels like its soundtracking ads for Danish Modern furniture and walks along the PanAm concourse, but now its starting to let in a few 70’s wide lapels in the foreground. There’s a hint of California palm fronds and rum in the air. The cars are more muscular and the love a little less free. Belbury has definitely crested its way out of the ’60s but its still got a lot of hangover from the influences that Jupp holds near and dear.
Still, it doesn’t matter quite which decades he straddles, the crux of Belbury is that intangible nostalgia. The tip-of-the-tongue feeling that you’ve been here before but never in quite this capacity. In that respect New Ways Out is hitting its mark squarely. It still feels like a wave of calming familiarity that echoes times when life wasn’t better, it was all just portrayed that way on TV. Things definitely click around a stylistic corner with the opening kick of “Hey Now Here He Comes” stapling a bit of glam to the swirling keys, sounding like bed music from an era intoxicated by The Bay City Rollers if Ennio Morricone was behind their decks. Its not a permanent shift though, and in no time Jupp’s back to finding the softer side of your memories and flooding them with a candied candle of children’s television interstitials and the saccharine glue of guided meditation seminars. In short, its everything that could ever be wanted from a Belbury Poly record, swirling in faded colors and star-wiping its way into your heart.
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