The resur­gent masters of dra­matic, cre­pus­cu­lar art rock face their de­mons on epic al­bum eight.

Mojo (UK) - - Contents - Ian Harrison

They've made al­bum eight in Willes­den, us­ing (they claim) the only vin­tage desk in Lon­don not used on The Dark Side Of The Moon. An­der­son’s men open up about gate­way songs, ter­ror and sound­ing like them­selves..

“We wanted the al­bum to sound re­ally win­try,” says Suede’s Brett An­der­son, sat with his band­mates in the mix­ing suite of Willes­den’s As­sault & Bat­tery Stu­dios, in April. “There was a pic­ture we kept re­fer­ring to – a cat walk­ing down this snowy av­enue of trees. Ev­ery song had to look as though it could fit into that world.” The cre­ation of The Blue Hour – Suede’s eighth al­bum in to­tal, and their third since re­turn­ing in 2010 – be­gan in May 2016, when An­der­son, gui­tarist Richard Oakes and key­boardist Neil Codling wrote Mistress, a Roxy-eque am­bi­ent vi­gnette de­pict­ing a child re­al­is­ing his fa­ther is hav­ing an af­fair. With the way for­ward re­vealed, they spent 18 months com­pos­ing the rest be­fore record­ing it in six weeks from Septem­ber to Oc­to­ber 2017, work­ing in As­sault & Bat­tery’s live room. A six-song pre­view re­veals a group in strap­ping cre­ative health. Al­bum opener As One is the epic, an­thro­po­mor­phic en­try to the un­der­world; Be­yond The Out­skirts is ele­giac, big-riff­ing clas­sic Suede; Life Is Golden a joy­ous pop mo­ment, and Flytip­ping, with its epic Bowiesque de­noue­ment, re­calls Dog Man Star-era gem The Liv­ing Dead. An­der­son ad­mits his re­cent mem­oir Coal Black Morn­ings in­formed The Blue Hour. “The book stirred up mem­o­ries of my child­hood,” he says. “A lot of it is about the ter­rors of child­hood, and the child’s per­spec­tive is me. Also, geo­graph­i­cally it’s set in a very spe­cific place – a scruffy, un­pleas­ant ru­ral set­ting, of B-roads, fly-tip­ping, road­kill and con­crete paths, dis­carded white goods by the side of the road… it’s not an al­bum about [Suede home­town] Hay­wards Heath though.” The Blue Hour it­self, mean­while, ref­er­ences the time at dawn and dusk when blue pre­dom­i­nates in the spec­trum. “It’s twi­light,” says An­der­son. “I had this idea that the child is lost and peo­ple are look­ing for it, as the night is clos­ing in.” This time, Suede’s long-term pro­ducer Ed Buller (now a film com­poser based in Cal­i­for­nia) has been re­placed by Alan Moul­der, of whom bas­sist Mat Os­man says, “he’s been on our radar for­ever.” “I wish I could give you some dirt – ar­gu­ments and fight­ing,” Moul­der tells MOJO. “But it was re­ally good fun.” “These days, you just have to let the band live and breathe,” rea­sons Oakes. “The mo­ment you try and tell peo­ple what to play it falls apart and it loses its iden­tity.” And what do they think of the fact that next year marks 30 years of Suede? “It’s great, but you just don’t think about it,” says Os­man. “I couldn’t do any of it if we weren’t still mak­ing great records we’re proud of.”


Brett An­der­son

Songs sung blue: (main, from left) Suede’s Richard Oakes, Neil Codling and Brett An­der­son with pro­ducer Alan Moul­der; (above) the new al­bum’s vis­ual cue.

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