After a decade in the wilderness, the fathers of Britpop produce a comeback album in the classic Suede mould
It's easy to picture Brett Anderson as the imperious princeling of Britpop, gazing down from his ivory tower as Damon Albarn and the Gallaghers capered round Landahn town and Suede's audience became more and more selective.
Twenty years ago they were "the best new band in Brtain"; ten years later, their lightning-quick steed had wheezed to a knackered halt after five albums of varying quality, personal friction, and Anderson's own recreational habits. The waspish lead singer was always both Suede's most compelling and risible member; a flamboyant frontman with a fine sense of the ridiculous and a deadly serious artiste who was to fall foul of the age's flatuent laddism.
Suede were of their time for sure but almost unbelievablly, this comeback from the band Anderson memorably described as "an out of control pram", finds them fantastically poised and energetic on a set of stompers and vaporous ballads.
For the first half of the album, Richard Oakes' writhing guitars dominate. Barriers is a bold and brash opener, It Starts and Ends With You revels in a majestic riff, and Hit Me soars high above the grey streets. By the time Suede get to the ballads (of which maybe there are too many), Anderson, ravished and undone, proves he has lost none of his gift for penning a well-oiled phrase. "I will sign my will one stab at a time/As the race begins around your hairpin bends." is one of many lines that will have you either chortling or pining romantically.
After the blood-letting comes Bloodsports, a short, sharp album that manages to re-capture the spirit of a great act. Sure these tales of doomed love and decadence may be all show but what a show Suede can still put on.