Graham Clark, Music Features Writer

Albums: Belle And Sebastian - Late Developers

Belle And Sebastian - Late Developers

Juliet Naked; Give A Little Time; When We Were Very Young; Will I Tell You A Secret; So In The Moment; The Evening Star; When You’re Not With Me; I Don’t Know What You See In Me; Do You Follow; When The Cynics Stare Back From The Wall; Late Developers.

Matador Records: OLE -1896

If you enjoyed Belle and Sebastian's, 2022 A Bit of Previous, you could be forgiven for assuming there was nothing left in the tank. But you’d be wrong. Turns out the band spent the bleakest parts of peak pandemic times with each other resulting in this surprise album release.

They turned their energy into beams of joy, heartbreak, truth, hope, spirituality, loss and love, all which shine through. It was as if we had been wandering through a cold, dark, seemingly infinite forest, until out of nowhere Belle and Sebastian appeared, waiting in the doorway of a warm and familiar space.

Recorded in the same sessions as A Bit of Previous, Late Developers doesn’t feel like a collection of songs that weren’t good enough to go on the 'real' record, but stands up as a bona fida Belle and Sebastian album.

The album’s sunny musical disposition is regularly confronted by the reality that sometimes life and love do not feel good. Major chords on a harpsichord and plucked guitar breeze by as Stuart Murdoch and Sarah Martin lament in harmony, “the world is killing me / I’m out to sea” on Will I Tell You a Secret.

Other highlights include Do You Follow which comes with a eighties vibe bringing to mind the Human League in their prime. I Don't Know What You See I Me which comes with a chorus that once heard, is one never forgotten, whilst When We Were Very Young harks back to the days when life when far simpler.

Whether the band are late developers or not, they continue to make great music as witnessed on this fine album of timeless songs.