Album Review: With ‘Bloodsports’, Suede return after 13 years with their best album since 1996’s ‘Coming Up’.
Brit-pop pioneers Suede (aka The London Suede, for those of us in the states) imploded in 2002. Their album ‘A New Morning‘ showed a palpable sense of burn-out.
But it seems the long rest in-between albums was needed, because ‘Bloodsports‘ has the youthful vigor of a band in their 20’s, belaying their middle-aged years.
Never a group known for subtlety, each track is an anthem in the best sense of the word.
The single ‘Barriers‘ is the opening salvo, all crystalline guitars, oceanic synths and glam-rock hooks.
Frontman Brett Anderson’s grandiose love-lorn lyrics still pack a punch, soaring with his patented wail:
“And our world it was wrapped in tinsel
invitations and fountain pens
but the heart is a lonely hunter
it trapped you once and it’ ll trap you again”
“Snowblind” evokes The Smith’s; starting off with moody arpeggiated guitar before kicking into a crunchy glam-rock riff. The chorus is stratospheric. I imagine this will be a live staple.
‘It starts And Ends With You’ evokes their début album, and ‘Sabotage‘ is glam grandeur in the best sense, starting off with Neil Coding’s burbling synths and leading into a guitar solo from Richard Oakes which evokes The Edge. This style bleeds into the follow-up track ‘Follow The Strangers.’
Things get even better in the latter half of the album. ‘Hit Me‘ is one of their best songs to date. It evokes past classics ‘Animal Nitrate‘ and ‘Trash‘, with vibrato guitars buoying Anderson’s sailing vocals; “C’mon and hit me with your majesty, c’mon and hit me with all your mystery.”
The chorus is chill inducing and may just be the biggest rock hook of 2013.
‘What Are You Not Telling Me‘, is a lovely ballad, anchored by synths and lounge piano. The multi-tracked chorus repeating the song title is chilling. Anderson channels heartbreak like few others : “the mysteries of love are not for us, it’s the little things that are tearing us up.”
Many Suede fans still bemoan the fact that founding guitarist Bernard Butler remains absent, but given his saccharine sweet side project with Anderson (The Tears), perhaps it’s for the best. This has more bite, and is the richer for it.
Richard Oakes remains a strong guitarist perfectly suiting their epic sound, meshing seamlessly with the rhythm section of Mat Osman and Simon Gilbert. Codling juggles keyboard duties with his own guitar work, adding interesting layers and textures.
While, they may never match the sheer grandiosity and scope of their 90’s epic ‘Dog Man Star‘, this is a pretty faultless collection.
‘Bloodsports‘, sticks out like a sore thumb in this era of indie-rock fragility. With the exception of Muse, many new artists are scared shitless to aim for the grand pageantry a band like Suede has to offer. Lucky for us then, that they’ve returned.
Want to own Suede’s ‘Bloodsports‘ on iTunes or Amazon? I have links for both below.
[amazon_image id=”B00AYCOUY6″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Bloodsports[/amazon_image]