From the opening guitar-pop strains of “Juliet Naked,” the first track on Late Developers, Belle & Sebastian’s second album in as many years, the tone of the record is set as the bright and bouncy rhythm track deceivingly pulls you into lyrics that are biting and almost bitter, a juxtaposition of moods that ensues to the end. Recorded during the pandemic at the same sessions that produced 2022’s A Bit Of Previous, Late Developers is a collection of intelligent, evocative songs of longing that question the very process people go through deciding if they’re happy or not while crossing musical genres with ease.
Belle & Sebastian built a passionate following over the last three decades on the strength of its quirky-but-accessible songwriting (which on Late Developers is shared by all the band members), creative and engaging arrangements, dynamic vocals and the boundless passion and joyful energy they bring to every record and live performance. And it’s that passion and dedication that has allowed Belle & Sebastian to continue to evolve through the decades, moving seamlessly from Folk-based introspection to Indie synth-washed gems and guitar-driven Pop, all present on Late Developers.
Having planned, pre-pandemic, to go into an L.A. studio with Grammy-winning producer Shawn Everett (Kacey Musgraves, The War On Drugs) and had the songs all ready to go. When covid forced them to scrap those plans, they scrapped the songs as well, convening in their Glasgow studio to create on the fly, giving Late Developers a sense of airy freedom that can only come from being in the moment. Those moments led Belle & Sebastian to radio success for both albums resulting from those sessions, with WFUV, KBAC, Indie 102.3, KMMS and The Current only a few of the stations giving early success to the first single, “I Don’t Know What You See In Me.”