Posts Tagged ‘Bloodsports’

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New Suede album Bloodsports: suprisingly good shocker – listen to it here

By Stefano on March 12th, 2013

SuedeBand reunions don’t tend to end too well now do they? Sure that mammoth one off gig in front of adoring fans is a win for both band and its devotees. It is when the band decides to regroup in the studio that the fun seems to end as invariably the band create music that adds very little to their legend.

There was however one key band reunion in the mid noughties that not only generated some amazing gigs, but yielded one of the best albums of that decade.

Here Come The Tears, the reunion album that teamed up Brett Anderson and Bernard Bulter for the first time since Dog Man Star was an absolute triumph. Joyful uplifting songs, sensitive thoughtful lyrics and that incendiary wall of sound guitar effect that was pure Butler. It was a work of genius and had they recorded it in the mid nineties it would be seen as the jewel of the Suede canon – along with Dog Man Star. But because they were older and wiser and apparently still at each other’s throats, it bombed.

Which brings me neatly onto yet another reunion album – Suede’s Bloodsports. Due in the store next week it is the band’s first since their ‘not as terrible as everyone makes out’ 2002 swansong A New Morning and while it is no Here Come The Tears it is a very strong record.

It seems like Brett has once again got ants in his pants. New Morning and its predecessor Head Music was low on the classic shoot for the skies anthemic pop songs that made the band special in the first place. By the time you get to the single Its Starts And Ends With You on Bloodsports you will have already heard three stratospheric pop songs. This is the sound of a band with its Mojo in tact. Bloodsports may even be the long lost follow up to Coming Up.

Barriers, you probably know. It might owe a little to mid period U2 with all that yelping, but the way the tune twists and turns is inspired. It Starts And Ends With You is classic Suede and possibly the best single since Beautiful Ones. This song is just wonderfully crafted. It all fits together so perfectly from its angsty guitar riffs through to Brett’s high notes at the end of the chorus.

Then there’s Sabotage which starts modestly enough but blossoms into a wonderfully anthemic tune (U2 again folks) with another glorious Oakes guitar coda. Its finale is magnificent.

For the Strangers is yet another gem, if anything it is the track that sounds most like The Tears, while Hit Me in the old days would probably have been their first single from the album – immediate, anthemic (that word again) and with plenty of Brett’s trademark la, la, la’s.

Then we get on to the ballads. Here Come The tears has a quartet of classic slowies, and on Bloodsports Brett shows us that he still has the knack of creating delicate melodies that tug on the heart strings. What Are You Not Telling Me nails that self-pitying whimper that Anderson has perfected over the years. But even that dramatic tune is put in the shade by the double killer punch of Always and Faultines. Think Asphalt World and Still Life as the template and you won’t be too far off. They might not be as epic as those two songs, but the distance isn’t as great as you might think.

So Bloodsports is great. A wonderful statement of all that was great about Suede first time round before the drugs and egos kicked in.

It isn’t Dog Man Star, it isn’t Here Come The Tears – but then again not much is. For now though this will do brilliantly.

Listen to it here.



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Why the new Suede track Barriers makes me yearn for The Tears

By Stefano on January 23rd, 2013

In case you missed it in the post Christmas and New Year comedown (and the fact that David Bowie announced his album the day after) glam popsters Suede are back with a new album in March and Brett Anderson is very excited about its potential.

He told the NME

“[It's] called ‘Bloodsports’. It’s about lust, it’s about the chase, it’s about the endless carnal game of love. It was possibly the hardest we ever made but certainly is the most satisfying. It’s 10 furious songs have reclaimed for me what Suede was always about: drama, melody and noise.”

Preceding even the official single ‘It Starts And Ends With You’, which is due in February, the band have unveiled a new track called Barriers, which is getting loads of plays on BBC Radio Six.

I must admit I wasn’t too impressed the first few times I heard it – Killers-lite came to mind, but I stuck with it and it sure has a catchy chorus and oddly it reminds me of The Manic Street Preachers in their early 90s heyday. And as for that whoop it is straight out of the Bono handbook.

More than anything else though it has me scuttling back not to Suede’s 90s albums but the orphan of the band’s catalogue 2005′s brilliant Here Come The Tears.

The Tears was the reunion band that featured both Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler who played a series of gigs and recorded a very special album in 2005. Both Anderson and Butler were seemingly at a bit of a loose end and to be fair after the project both would be energised and go on to incredible things – Anderson with the triumphant Suede reunion tour and Butler with his production duties for Duffy et al.

In 2005 the band’s status was at its lowest ebb, it wasn’t long enough away from the weaker albums that they band made at the end of their career, Butler hadn’t yet found his muse and Anderson was months away from his solo career. So when Here Come The Tears was released it was met by mainly polite reviews (it got very few bad ones) and a great deal of indifference.

Sure hardcore Suede fans, excited by the of the coming together of the two main protagonists of the band – who basically hadn’t spoken to each other since Butler walked out of the Dog Man Star sessions – cherished the album, but it was quickly forgotten. The fact that Anderson seemed very keen to bury The Tears almost as quickly as the band had got going, didn’t help either.

If you approach it with fresh ears I am sure you will conclude Here Come The Tears is an absolute glam pop masterpiece. It might not be Dog Man Star but, boy it runs it close. Personally I rate it as one of the best five or so albums of the last decade and believe that one day it will be hailed as a masterpiece.

If ever two musicians were meant to be together it is these two. On the album Butler takes some gorgeous Anderson-penned tunes and kicks them off into the stratosphere with that incendiary multi tracked guitar/wall of sound that made the early Suede records so special. The tunes seem to have an oomph and a drive sadly missing in almost all their post-Coming Up Recordings.

Just like Coming Up, its nearest equivalent in the Suede canon, Here Come The Tears is a like a greatest hits album. Potential single follows potential single each one packing the type of hooks, harmonies, killer guitar moments and glammy drama that their rivals at the time could only dream about.

Highlights? Every track has something special. If you want Trash-like anthems than take Lovers, Refugees and Autograph. If you love Dog Man Star style brilliantly executed dramatic ballads then how about Apollo 13 and The Ghost of You. There’s even a big finale in vein of The Next Life – the difference is that the minor key piano-driven A Love As Strong As Death is even more memorable than the album codas that precede it.

Finally Brett is on fine form lyrically. Sure there’s the odd cheesy rhyme, but the tale of clearing a dead mother’s house in The Ghost Of You and the contagious you and me against the world vibe of Two People and Lovers are much sharper and more resonant than anything he has written in a while.

Here Come The Tears is a joyous celebration of life, love and death. It is the sound of two souls who reunited and re-discovered themselves. If Bloodsports is a fifth as good as this it will be a wonderful album.

 




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