Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Album review: SUEDE - Bloodsports

Highlights: Barriers, Snowblind, It Starts And Ends With You, Sometimes I Feel I’ll Float Away

Head Music and A New Morning were so patchy and 90’s are so far away now that only wishful thinkers could seriously expect a good reunion album from Suede. As far as I’m concerned, neither Brett Anderson nor Bernard Butler have done anything of note outside their original band, even if I do have a soft spot for Duffy’s debut album which Butler (he’s not on the new album) produced. But in all honesty – Bloodsports is a shockingly good record.

You could of course come up (is that a pun?) with numerous explanations as to why that may be so, but I guess it all boils down to the fact that, for whatever random reason, they decided to write good songs. The two first singles, “Barriers” and “It Starts And Ends With You”, are classic Suede material, soaring, soulful (as in ‘full’, not as in ‘soul’) and catchy. They cleraly put lots of craft and care into this album. It sounds incredible. And I’m particularly fond of the way they chose to have a strong four ballad run at the end of the record. May take a little more time to fall in love with, but once you do – you’ll know that Anderson’s vocal hooks are as irresistible as they were in 1994. “Sometimes I Feel I’ll Float Away”, 0:45-0:50 (reprised later): that’s what we came here for, right?

Anderson has mentioned somewhere that Bloodsports is like a cross between Coming Up and Dog Man Star, which is a pretty accurate description of what you get here. The cover may be ugly as hell, but this is unquestionably their best album since 1996. And I don’t know – no offence to Richard Oakes, but with Butler’s guitar crunch and charisma it could have been even better. Still, let’s be thankful for what we get: a great reunion album from a 90’s Brit pop band. Christ.


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