Developer takes many plays to weave its web, though that web isn't all that sticky. It's the band's most subtle album, containing some of their prettiest material. They don't assault the senses as often as usual, but it still has a couple heavy moments. Albini's again on board, and the record doesn't sound much different from its predecessor -- nice crisp drums and good space between the bass and guitars. It's arguably their least-fulfilling record (if you don't count L'ajre) and it features some of their ugliest artwork to date (odd how those two characteristics go hand in hand). Tim Midgett's "The City Glows" is one of the album's bright spots. On earlier records, Midgett's voice tended to break off-key when he attempted to roam past his range. Here, his voice is perfect: a soft, gentle croon. Lyrics like "There's a tug of war inside my skin, got no control over anything" would usually require a cathartic wail, but drummer Michael Dahlquist and guitarist Andy Cohen make a soft, fluffy bed for Midgett to glide on top of. Cohen's narrative title track offers some witty lines: "Met a young slip and told him to strip/You work for me now, better get on the ship/Got to ride these boys hard when they're on my time/Havanas aren't free, nor is my ex-wife." Never the greatest unit shifters, Silkworm were dropped from the Matador stable after Developer. Was it the poor sales, or did Cohen never repay label head Gerard Cosloy for the money he asked for during "Never Met a Man I Didn't Like"?
AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman