H&H // Bloodsports – Suede
Since departing on the self admittedly not so brilliant note of ‘A New Morning‘ and leaving it hanging in the balance of “There will be another record. But not yet.“, Suede have kept us waiting for glimmers of said record for the best part of ten years, giving ‘Bloodsports‘ certainly a lot to make up for. Fortunately, the band appear unfaltered in the time of reunion mishaps and will-they-won’t-they’s, and suddenly, the gritty romanticism is back in full flow, and Suede seem as relevant to contributions of outstanding English music as they did in 1993.
‘Barriers‘ is still the sweeping stadium epic of as many Brett Anderson-esque lyrics crammed into 3 minutes as possible (by no means a bad thing), introducing the typical passionate content expected of them by now, while ‘Snowblind‘ continues the brazen stadium monster theme that feels like it’s been pryed from the grips of ‘Coming Up‘, both cementing the heart of what ‘Bloodsports‘ is about from start to finish.
Next comes first single, ‘It Starts And Ends With You‘, without a doubt the most undeniably pop song on the album. It’s catchy, and once again, could’ve easily been pulled from the ’90s back catalogue, the music is so naturally nonplussed by the ten years gone by, and that’s something to be admired if nothing else.
The rest of the album standouts follow quickly in suit; ‘Sabotage‘ being a reminiscent type fueled by biting guitars and cries of “thy will be done” – though those are slightly concerning if anything – whilst ‘For The Strangers‘ is the album’s strangely uplifting track, with it’s na-na-na’s and all you’d expect of a melancholic singalong. ‘Hit Me‘ soon crushes all of this in an instant, with the glamrock energy of ‘Electricity‘ and generally brash sound, it is undoubtedly the best thing Suede have come up in a few albums.
At this point, the album drops all in favour of the romantic crooners. ‘Sometimes I Feel I’ll Float Away‘ gets away with it in magnificent experimental style and ‘What Are You Not Telling Me?‘ too retains the brilliance within it’s austerity, however penultimate track ‘Always‘ is very much the opposite, another slow one, only this time very much forgettable. You can’t have an album without one slightly under par track, but this appears a downward spiral, being just that bit too hard. The pain is not left for long due to ‘Faultlines‘ , and whilst it may be the fourth slow ballad type in a row, it is the perfect album closer. It’s sorrowful and persistent and seems a fitting end to the rather romantic journey that is ‘Bloodsports‘.
Brett Anderson & co. don’t seem quite done with making standout records just yet and this is no exception, miles away from 2003 and a ’90s sound that is still as great as it ever could be, the whole thing sounds exactly like you’d expect Suede to sound in 2013: very much still brilliant.