SUEDE

Exclaim! - - POP ROCKS -

Night Thoughts

Ex­pec­ta­tion when bands re­form to re­lease new ma­te­rial is of­ten so low that it’s al­most in the artist’s best in­ter­est to sim­ply tour the hits. When Suede re­united in 2010, they had lit­tle in­ter­est in ei­ther fate, and even scrapped an al­bum’s worth of ma­te­rial be­cause it wasn’t good enough. In the end, they re­leased Blood­sports, an al­bum about “the end­less car­nal game of love” that was so sur­pris­ingly ex­cel­lent, it ri­valled the band’s now- clas­sic first two al­bums. Night Thoughts, their se­cond al­bum since the re­union and sev­enth over­all, ex­plores darker ter­rain than the li­bidi­nous Blood­sports, fo­cus­ing on mor­bid themes such as ag­ing and de­cay­ing, both phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally. The band opt for stark min­i­mal­ism to de­liver the most ele­giac mo­ments: The emo­tion flow­ing through the pained lyrics of “Pale Snow” is un­der­pinned by ambi- ent tex­tures, while Brett An­der­son’s re­morse­ful words in “I Can’t Give Her What She Wants” are lifted by Richard Oakes’ del­i­cate, cas­cad­ing gui­tar lines. And yet, de­spite An­der­son’s stated de­sire to make a co­he­sive state­ment this time around, Suede have slipped in a few tracks that stand apart: first sin­gle “Out­siders” blis­ters with an ag­gres­sive riff by Oakes and An­der­son’s soar­ing cho­rus, while the giddy “No To­mor­row” and “Like Kids” come from the same pop-fu­elled mind­set as 1996’s Com­ing Up. Night Thoughts is suc­cess­ful in ac­com­plish­ing its goal, though. Book­ended by “When You Are Go­ing” and “The Fur & the Feath­ers,” Suede es­tab­lish and up­hold the al­bum’s gravitas with the type of sym­phonic grandios­ity we’ve come to an­tic­i­pate from them. That ev­ery­thing in be­tween falls into place ac­cord­ingly demon­strates Suede are just as ex­cit­ing now as they were 20 years ago. (Suede Ltd./Warner) CAM LIND­SAY voices, while lyrics like “I only dance to re­mem­ber how danc­ing used to feel” add poignancy. If this doesn’t move you, take your heart off the or­gan donor list. (City Slang, citys­lang.com) KERRY DOOLE

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