Saturday, 23 March 2013

Suede Bloodsports Album Review

I love Suede, so this will no doubt be very biased.

I got into them whilst revising for my degree, probably the last time in my life that I got into loving things as Mrs P arrived around the same time in my life too (meaning that I love her too, not that she stopped me loving things, oh dear too much foot in mouth syndrome).

Its a funny relationship I have with Suede. Perhaps the closest I can put to it is the relationship I have with mates from school. Don't see them for years, then when I do I am transported back to being a kid and the fun that nostalgia brings.

So what happens with Suede for me, every release anticipated, purchased, filed away. Magazines read, concerts watched, even planning a weekend away to follow Suede to Manchester and Liverpool, the Internet scoured for live songs and rarities, fanzines bought and when offshoots arose, McAlmont & Butler, the Tears, Elastica, Artmagic, Bernard solo, Brett solo, I could be seen at the gigs lapping it up.

So when the new album came along, I was up for it definitely, tickets purchased for Ally Pally, and Rock City, preview radio interviews listened to, Barriers downloaded for free, sadly in the week Bowie decided to trump their approach, and lots of 4 star album reviews.

I got the Delux album eventually, bashed in the post, but have the physical product to hand. I have played it 7 times in quick succession. I can't remember the last time I did that to an album, and have no thoughts about slowing down. Bowie and John Grants albums haven't had this much air time, so I am going to run through the album in real time to catch my thoughts in listen number 8.

Barriers, very familiar, gallops along, that's what it feels like, Brett's voice unmistakable, lipstick mentioned with seconds, the way I loved you comes soon, jumping barriers - sounds like fans at an adoring gig.  The way, the way I loved you is such a cracking lyric. So this is already a Suede classic for me, then we get into singalong mode at the end, they can happily do this one as an opener next week.

Snow blind has the sorts of oooooo that I remember from coming up and head music, again classic Suede, guitar unmistakeable in the first 30 seconds. 'Find our keys on the kitchen table' just lyrics from the Suede almanac, glamourously ordinary. The first time I heard this one I did get excited, more brilliance from Suede. Brett's voice is cracking (ie great, not in a bad way) more sing along chorus time. Perfection.

It starts and ends with you. Those drums, fantastic, this had been on heavy rotation on 6 music and I love it, 'pinch myself but i don't wake up' & 'to much is not enough', great lyrics  It quickly replaced Barriers as my favourite new song by them. That is a blistering first 3 songs, bettered by and of the previous albums? Good question. Possibly not, I can listen to them time and time again.

Sabotage. Slowing down, drums Europe is my playground style. Again very Suede, again brilliant, am I just biased in this? I haven't heard songs as good as this IMHO for a long time. A mournful beautiful song this one, but still quicker than a ballad. First time I heard it, I thought it was 'and I will return' which is right.

For the Strangers. Lips like semaphore. Stings like aerosol in my eyes. Pretty good lyrics still run through. I have my lighter held aloft now for this one, I have put my arm round Claire and we are swaying side to side. We both love Suede. This is of course all in my head as I have the album on my iPod and am hiding from small children to do a review. So I still like this, but it's more a 4star rather than the 5 stars of the first four songs. I put my metaphorical lighter away for.

Hit me. And another powerfully drummed intro. Suede have always done powerful drums, ala she, elephant man. Then a beautiful, 'Come on and hit me with your majesty' and 'la la la la la'. Bretts voice is better than ever, no change in the last 20 years, maybe even fuller  Am i totally sure these aren't songs from the 90's just rerecorded as they really stand out. I am back onto 5 star ratings again.

Sometimes I feel I'll float away. So we are now coming down, slowing up after a blistering first half. This is definitely a Suede ballad. We are building to the chorus, and there it is, the name of the song, rich and strong. It's a softer more dreamy chorus than normal for Suede, a great song again, a bit different to their older ballads ala wild ones.

What are you not telling me? More ballad, quieter, piano and whistling effects, then where do the echoing backing harmonies come from. Never heard anything like this from Suede, I am waiting for that chorus to come again, a second run through of the triple backed song title, it sounds even better second time round. Straight in for a third cycle, and this is a very bare track and couple of minutes and gone.

Always, starts off very oriental. Quite fancy a Chinese, and again another slower ballady number. 'I set my clock for 7:30 everyday' Brett sings, chance would be a fine thing. Again I think that this is a lower song on the album, but hang on, the drums are dragging it back, pounding to a crescendo, topped by Brett's chorus, it's been saved, definitely worth waiting for the second half to arrive.

Faultlines ends the album, starts very Morricono. I like it. I am just listening, i cant say too much as a result. it's very Mexican for me, I would have this over the end of a spaghetti western any day, but then Suede have been very cinematic to end albums, rolling credits, no encore to Still life on the Dog Man Star tour is a case in point.

Do you want some more? Well of course you do, I tunes exclusives.

Dawn chorus. Not bad, mid paced, so far so good, not a Suede of old bside more a Suede a new morning tune - but as I love them, it's still a good tune, but a filler, a 3 star tune and I doubt it will get an airing live, but perhaps I am just harking back to a band that threw away corkers of the genius of scifi lullabies.

Howl. Again a 3 star, nice to have in the collection said the completist. Actually probably good to slow down to theses 2 songs, you can have too much of a good thing and it does point to just how good he album is to these severely biased eyes.

So finally I have an exclusive listen, due to the crapness of the company providing the physical product, I was sent the bonus tunes above (again) and also 'No Holding Back'. Its the Drums again, and a hurried sounding song. Good chorus but loads of noisy guitars over what sounds like Brett singing in a subway tunnel, yep second listen and he has definitely run back into the subway, I imagine its a Suede subway though, like the one from a video, cant remember which one, but where someone gets beaten up, maybe we are the pigs. I shall investigate later. Best of the 3 freebies (which actually I paid 99p each for and had to buy a very expensive boxset) so perhaps not freebies.

So what do I reckon to the album - a real cracker and one that will get a lot of listens to. Bring on the live experience.

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