Belle and Sebastian have quickly followed up their 2022 release, A Bit of Previous with Late Developers released just 7 months later. “Juliet Naked” comes in immediately as the music starts. The band sound really confident, far away from awkward teenage glances as Stuart Murdoch sings of “prayers and pills, dusty nights in quivering hotels”. The sound immediately shifts on “Give a Little Time” where Sarah Martin takes over the vocals with chirpy handclaps and talk that “these are the best days”.
Martin takes over the vocals again on the funky “When You’re Not With Me” before the Passion Pit like synth track, “I Don’t Know What You See In Me”. The confidence of earlier songs disappear where Murdoch questions whether he is good enough. Martin and Murdoch then share vocal duties on the 60s folk sound of “Will I Tell You a Secret”. The album closes with the title track that adds horns and has a bit of a jam feel to start, nice keyboards and a bit of drumming.
Late Developers has a modern flair but includes what has always made Belle and Sebastian a cult favourite, including the album cover. Sarah Martin shines whenever she steps up to the mic. Stuart Murdoch adds several classic B&S lyrics like the “I wish I could be content with the football scores” line on “When We Were Very Young”. Cementing his nerdy/cool outsider status even into his 50s. Late Developers is a full band effort that rivals some of their music from the early 2000s.