Suede – Night Thoughts – Album Review by Killian Laher
Of all the 90s bands, Suede were never meant to age at all, let alone gracefully. One half expected them to perish in some bedsit full of broken light fittings, mangled bedsprings and illicit substances. Yet here they are, second album into their comeback, sounding as strident as ever. The album opens in grandiose fashion, with the pseudo-classical strings of When You Are Young. When after a minute you hear faint echoes of chanting children, you know we’re in expansive, ambitious Suede territory here (à la Dog Man Star). This track acts as a scene-setter, before the album starts properly with Outsiders. A brash, searing guitar line propels this one, leading to a great soaring Brett Anderson chorus. In common with many of the other uptempo songs here, such as the swaggering, cocky No Tomorrow, it very much echoes their past work yet doesn’t really sound like any one of their old songs in particular. Brett Anderson’s singing is as idiosyncratic as ever, it’s both distinctive and annoying at the same time, it’s hard to picture a 48 year old man (which is what he is) singing like this. So affectedly damaged, at times it really suits the music while at others, distracts beyond all reason, often within the same song!
It’s on the slower material that the album struggles. The sweeping strings of Pale Snow and the deliberately picked electric guitar on Tightrope, disguise tracks which sound like they’re desperately struggling to seem significant, and the lyrics stray into damaged teen territory on I Can’t Give Her What She Wants (“as I weave my fingers round her perfumed throat…. hear the clatter of her pretty, pretty feet”). However the band still has a way with a chorus, I Don’t Know How To Reach You overcomes an over-the-top vocal from Anderson to deliver an absolutely storming refrain. Equally, What I’m Trying To Tell You and Like Kids are as good as any of the other ‘mid-album’ tracks on Suede’s debut or Dog Man Star.
So although the band doesn’t break new ground, remaining very much within the parameters of what Suede ‘is’, it’s a solid album with plenty of decent tunes. In short, if you were fan of Suede, you’ll need to get this, and fairweather fans will find plenty of tunes to get their teeth into.
Track List –
1. When You Are Young
3. No Tomorrow
4. Pale Snow
5. I Don’t Know How To Reach You
6. What I’m Trying To Tell You
8. Learning To Be
9. Like Kids
10. I Can’t Give Her What She Wants
11. When You Were Young
12. The Fur and the Feathers
Categories: Album Reviews, Header, Music
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