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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Pretty Impressive Comeback
One is, of course, always very wary (and sometimes surprised) when a favoured band decides to reform, particularly in Suede's case, as Mr Anderson had repeatedly stated there was no such intention, even after having gone some way down the route first with Bernard Butler (via the excellent Tears album in 2005) and then with Suede's 2010 reunion gigs. The pleasant surprise...
Published on 15 May 2013 by Keith M

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3.0 out of 5 stars Clung to me, and Clung to you!
This album is not anything really new from Suede. If you do enjoy this album though, you might want to have a listen to Brett Andersons solo albums and The Tears record that came out in 2005, with ex Suede guitarist Bernad Butler.

This record seems to be a cross between The Tears, The Head Music record and Coming Up.

It doesn't have much of a...
Published 22 days ago by Jonathan M


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Pretty Impressive Comeback, 15 May 2013
By 
Keith M - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Bloodsports (Audio CD)
One is, of course, always very wary (and sometimes surprised) when a favoured band decides to reform, particularly in Suede's case, as Mr Anderson had repeatedly stated there was no such intention, even after having gone some way down the route first with Bernard Butler (via the excellent Tears album in 2005) and then with Suede's 2010 reunion gigs. The pleasant surprise for me is that Bloodsports quite frankly (significantly) exceeds my expectations and whilst (for me) not ranking with the band's classic first three albums, or attaining quite the level of brilliance of Dexy's re-emergence last year (after a near 30-year absence), is still a very respectable piece of work (and one that continues to grow with each listen).

That is not to say that there isn't a good deal of variation in the quality of the songs here, but at its best Bloodsports provides moments to compare with the band's absolute peak. I'll put my cards on the table up front by saying that from the moment I first heard Richard Oakes' guitar intro, followed by Anderson's beautifully fragile vocal lead-in to For The Strangers I knew it was something special (in fact, I still can't think of a melody more sublime in the band's body of work....Still Life, My Dark Star, Breakdown, The Chemistry Between Us included). Other standouts for me include album opener Barriers, whose hook is impossible to banish from my mind and whose similarity to The Killers (as pointed out by my other half) I would contend is more about the Las Vegans have taken their inspiration from the Brits (rather than the other way round) and closer, the exquisitely positive Faultlines, which demonstrates that (in the studio, at least) Anderson's vocal delivery has lost none of its power.

Each of It Starts And Ends With You and Hit Me are great Suede rockers, brilliant riffs and stonking choruses, with the former featuring some of Anderson's more interesting lyrics ('Like a cause without a martyr, like an effigy of balsa'). Likewise, Snowblind features a great Oakes riff but is rather let-down by a formulaic chorus, whilst each of Sabotage (big chorus), Sometimes I Feel I'll Float Away (delicate vocal) and Always (brilliant chorus hook) have much to commend them. The only (for me) rather throwaway song here is What Are You Not Telling Me?

Generally, on the lyric front, Anderson (perhaps not surprisingly) continues to produce some nicely poetic wordplay, which sounds pleasant on the ear, but whose hidden depths still elude this listener (although in Barriers he does give a - maybe unintentional - nod to Greil Marcus' legendary tome on the history of 20th century music, art and culture).

Nevertheless, a worthy comeback effort. I wonder what other bands might be about to reform? Now about that suggestion I made, Steven Patrick....
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent return to form, 1 April 2013
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This review is from: Bloodsports (Audio CD)
This review will be heavily biased, as Suede has always been my favourite band. However, rather than try to quantify the quality of Bloodsports compared to other artists, I will compare it to Suede's previous output.

A part of me can still hardly believe that I am listening to a new Suede album in 2013, and one that sounds exactly like they did in the mid-90s - fresh, together, catchy. Quite a few of the songs remind me sonically of the Coming Up B-sides which populated a large part of Sci-Fi Lullabies. There is thankfully no trace of the sound experimentation which ruined most of Head Music. Suede are back to being a guitar-driven band, as they should be.

At the risk of being controversial, I must admit I was never too fond of Coming Up. It was too slick and polished, too many radio-perfect pop songs, and Brett's vocal was twisted to be flat and tinny. (I'm not alone in thinking so; the vocal was altered in the version of "Trash" which appeared on the Singles release.) Rather than the album tracks, I thought the true beauty of Coming Up was hidden in its B-sides.

Being even more controversial, I actually liked A New Morning. It was simpler and cleaner than Head Music and had some lovely ballads. It was perhaps TOO simple for many fans, but I saw it as an emergence from the drug-fuelled decline.

Then there's The Tears and Brett Anderson's solo output, which inevitably sounds a lot like Suede, although in a low-key mode. It's mostly excellent and I can highly recommend it, particularly the later releases Slow Attack (2009) and Black Rainbows (2011).

So where does Bloodsports fit into this? It's a mature album, with both upbeat pop songs and deeper, more introverted songs. Because of this maturity, I'm inclined to declare it Suede's third best album - I reckon it would be impossible to beat their first two albums for impact and sheer youthful obsession (people get more reserved with age and the songs less single-minded), but it beats Coming Up, which was a superficial fluttering butterfly, perfectly capturing 1996 but quickly becoming stuck at that time, the sound of 90s nostalgia.

The lyrics have developed over the years and are littered with expressions also found in Anderson's solo material ("brittle", "effigy", "Roman candles", etc.). There is no doubt that Brett is still the major artistic force behind the band, but it's encouraging to see guitarist Richard Oakes has also had a major hand in shaping the album. Suede fell apart because they tried to reinvent themselves away from their very essence: great guitar riffs and sing-along melodies. It's harder to determine the level of influence by keyboardist Neil Codling as a songwriter, but throughout the album, the guitar is the instrument in focus.

With both a sound and a sleeve design reminiscent of Coming Up, Suede seem keen to forget the bad years of drug addiction and writing an album without really speaking to each other, and instead pick up where they left off in 1996. In my opinion, they have succeeded. The band sounds as fresh and motivated as then, with a great sense of direction and the stubbornness that comes with having something to prove. Instead of Head Music, this is the album we should have had in 1999.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Massive Step In The Right Direction, 19 Mar. 2013
By 
Mr. D. Stuart (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bloodsports (Audio CD)
Didn't really take to the album at first, but after a few listens and you find the old Suede kicking back into form big style.

It's great to see the band listening to the fans again, they had no choice after A New Morning which peeved a lot of Suede fans off.

You can tell that a hell of a lot of effort has been put into this album, with some teasing licks on guitar, solid pumping bass and quality drumming, Brett's voice is also much better and less vulnerable, it's stronger compared to the likes of A New Morning, Head Music etc.

The order of the songs is bizarre, but I believe they've chosen the upbeat songs first and the slower songs towards the end to parallel a relationship, upbeat to begin with and then nagging and divorce settlements at the end :-) ok maybe not!?

The only thing I don't like about the album is the mastering, it's too "loud" and Brett's voice clarity isn't always there and as a result you can' tell what's being sang....not a biggie, just an observation.

Overall a great return to form from a band I quite frankly, thought had died a long time ago....welcome back!!
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They Finally Reached Those Stars..., 18 Mar. 2013
This review is from: Bloodsports (Audio CD)
'Bloodsports' was an album that was a couple of years in the making, a concerted effort that was crafted with care and pin-point accuracy by its songwriter, Brett Anderson. However, this calculated approach seems to have paid off. If Brett's main aim was to create an album that could stand shoulder to shoulder with `Dogmanstar' and `Coming Up', then he has undoubtedly succeeded. It will probably take a month of listening before its true standing can be judged, but as far as I'm concerned `Bloodsports' matches those albums pound for pound.

Highlights are; `Snowblind', `Sabotage' 'For The Strangers', and the euphoric `Hit Me' who's opening bars remind me of `New Generation'. The second half of the album is just as carefully calculated, as we enter into the slower, more progressive side of Suede, filled with beautiful stunning ballads like 'Sometimes I Feel I'll Float Away' and 'Always'.

I must say that I couldn't review this album without acknowledging Richard Oakes' contribution. His guitar playing on `Head Music' was one of the riding highlights of an otherwise patchy album, but on `Bloodsports' he finally gets to show us his true swagger. There's the classic "brash guitar sound" that dominated `CU' but there is also a new level of sophistication to his playing, even elements of other influences, like The Cure, that creep into tracks like 'Barriers'. It all sits so wonderfully.

Brett is a great songwriter, and my hopes were high with this album. However, this calculated time-managed approach to album making has been more successful than I, or any Suede fan could ever have imagined.

Suede's music has never quite received the acknowledgement it deserves, and with this album you get the feeling there is an attempt that Brett is trying to cement Suede's legacy, and to be honest this couldn't be a better opening to their "second act", and musically, this is the greatest comeback I have ever heard. People who don't like Suede may ask "Who cares?" Well, Suede obviously does, and so do appreciators of great music...and in our minds, that is all that matters.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Clung to me, and Clung to you!, 7 July 2015
This review is from: Bloodsports (Audio CD)
This album is not anything really new from Suede. If you do enjoy this album though, you might want to have a listen to Brett Andersons solo albums and The Tears record that came out in 2005, with ex Suede guitarist Bernad Butler.

This record seems to be a cross between The Tears, The Head Music record and Coming Up.

It doesn't have much of a character as the other records but is way more lively than the 1999 and 2002 albums.
It also has a dark vibe of Dog Man Star and the first album, so its basically everything about Suede you've heard in one record over 10 tracks.

Its one really for the fans, but I doubt its enough to make other people pay attention and become new fans.
You can tell its been put together hurriedly rather than a lot of time taken over it, but its good to hear Suede do a back to basics album, more like the first 3 and less experimentation.

I didn't think their 2002 album was bad by any means, and a lot better than some other records from that year.

However if this is anything to go by, their next record should be much better than this by a long way. You probably have to know all the music Suede and Brett Anderson have done in the past to appreciate it properly, but you may just like it the way it is as a record by itself.

I don't think it really rivals the other records, its equal with the A New Morning album if not a bit better than that.

There isn't really a song here like "The Beautiful Ones" or "The Wild Ones" or "Animal Nitrate" its all a bit almost "memorable" but the songs are held back, probably cause they were rushed.

It is a return to Suedes energetic sound of Coming Up, if you didn't understand any of that^
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5.0 out of 5 stars Come on and Hit Me with your pure Suede majesty, mystery., 18 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Bloodsports (Audio CD)
So here we are Suede fans, are you still out there? Of course you are and this is the album we've all been waiting for.

This is the record arch rival Damon Albarn, wishes he could write, if only he wasn't so middle class, Brett and the boys have returned to spin tales of love, not the Animal Nitrate stories of yore, no this is pure Suede, stripped down to a new mature, but still achingly youthful collection that only Brett and the gang have always been so very capable of delivering.

I'm going to go out on a limb and declare this to be their best album yet, even though I've only listened to it in its entirety twice, it's all here the wistful melancholy we have known and loved them for, but instead of the emphasis on drug fuelled uplifting despair we are treated to some superbly crafted songs of love, journeys into and out of love and the multiplicity that is human relationships.

The instant grab tracks are opener Barriers the searing single It Starts and Ends With You, Sabotage, my favourite right now, and Hit Me, with all that I've ever loved about Suede. I'll be honest I wasn't expecting that much from this their sixth collection of songs, but boy I'm glad I took the leap of faith and pre-ordered Bloodsports.

All that remains is to get out there and witness them perform these new old friends live in the flesh the way they always were, the most vital band of the 1990s reborn it seems some twenty years later, oh me of little faith.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Coming Up..., 18 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Bloodsports (Audio CD)
This record is breathtaking in a number of ways, but most tellingly, it is proof that Suede are generally at their best when they have a point to prove or a score to settle. The last time the band found themselves in that situation it was 1996 and they were releasing their third album, Coming Up, the first set of songs to be released with new guitarist Richard Oakes, the replacement of Bernard Butler. After Dog Man Star's 'Diamond Dogs' meets 'Hounds of Love' gloom, Suede and Ed Buller honed a T.Rex styled modern classic with 'Coming Up' - holding five Top Ten singles and (to date) being their most successful record. After that things got a bit mixed with the partially fantastic, but over long, 'Head Music' and the lacklustre 'A New Morning'.

So, again, Suede have a point to prove, and this time it is really a sense of trying to re-write history, and almost release the record that they should have in 1997 - 'Coming Up part II'. Parts of 'Bloodsports' certainly fall into that category, and clearly the 1996 album was a touchstone here, but as writers Suede are simply far more evolved - Anderson released four solo albums and a collaboration with Bernard Butler after 'A New Morning'. Tellingly, producer of the classic Suede era, Ed Buller, is also back on board for this record and the result is fantastic, and certainly above and beyond expectation. Arguably, the record is superior to 'Coming Up', and it touches on some of the majesty of 'Dog Man Star' in parts - no mean feat considering that 1994 record is widely considered to be the band's finest work. Hence, the ghost of Bernard Butler has always slightly overshadowed proceedings and quite probably has been a constant source of woe for the permanently 17 year old (now in his mid 30s) Richard Oakes.

That shouldn't be the case, and it isn't. Compared to 'Here Come The Tears', the fairly confused (but at times great) record Anderson made with Butler in 2005, after splitting with Suede, 'Bloodsports' is the superior record. That, in part, also needs to be attributed to the return of Neil Codling to the band - who left in the middle of making the fabled failure of ' A New Morning'. The quiet keyboard player contributes to the majority of the songwriting alongside Oakes and Anderson here, and clearly theirs is a tryst that works - especially under the production of Ed Bulller.

'Barriers' is a shimmering, confidently lean slab of knowingly 'epic' stadium rock from the school of U2 and Simple Minds. The explosive chorus, with a fantastic key change and guitar part fizzes and jumps out of the speakers in a giddy manner. 'Snowblind', takes a bit longer to settle on the ear, but it becomes a huge favourite - sounding like it could've been taken off the first Suede LP - with it's reverb drenched 'speaking in tongues' chorus and the acidic middle 8 that contains the classic Anderson lyric 'all the statues on the tube can't hold a candle to you'.

Elsewhere, the record goes from pleasingly familiar territory ('It Starts and Ends With You' and 'Hit Me' could both have happily lived previously as Coming Up era singles) to surprisingly creative ones. The woozy, haunted house ballad of 'What Are You Not Telling Me', with gorgeous multi-layered vocals, taps into that Kate Bush influence that made Dog Man Star so chillingly beautiful. 'Sometimes I Feel I'll Float Away', slightly clunky title aside, is a kindred spirit of 'Picnic By The Motorway' with the volume turned up. 'Always' is literally a mash up of 'Saturday Night' and 'The Asphalt World' - starting out, it seems, as a sugary sweet pop song and turning into an obsessive, twisted rant that summons the imagery of a lover becoming a stalker. Closing track 'Fautlines' feels like the end credits of this highly cinematic record, which may only clock in at 40 minutes, but it is nonetheless a thrilling trip.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the first classic Suede album in 17 years., 18 Mar. 2013
By 
Mr. M. A. Reed (Argleton, GB) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bloodsports (Audio CD)
The decade since Suede last released an album have been cruel to many of us. The world Suede existed in then has fallen to pieces, with the death of HMV, Woolworths, the rise of the iEverything, and a society where there is no such thing as the underground, just another option. But as ever, Suede do their best work under a right wing administration.

Where did it all go wrong? In retrospect, its easy to see where Suede fell off the path : following 1999's underwhelming "Head Music" with a three year sabbatical from touring and a woefully-out-of-time-and-place final album "A New Morning", the band limped to an end in late 2003 with some defiantly final shows. Few bands have been deservedly seen as having lost their way so spectacularly.

The risk of "Pixies Syndrome" looms. The band could have become a rolling Nostalgia Machine, endlessly touring the same five records around the world to ever-diminishing returns as they become an irrelevancy. They - and we - deserve better. Here it is. Within seconds, the memory of disappointment that accompanied repeated listens to "A New Morning" are banished.

"Bloodsports" is the first classic Suede album in 17 years. Whilst it lacks a true, eyes-wet-weeping bedsit piano ballad, it has everything else. Including the kitchen sink. Songs are rising and falling mini-dramas that have all the things that made Suede songs so damn glorious : understated but perfect guitar lines, harmonies to sink battleships, and a sense of wide-eyed romanticism and hunger. This is Suede's second chance, and one that they will not disappoint. As ever, Richard Oakes, Suede's unsung saviour lashes the record in swathes of sound and melody that is both hopeful and hopeless. Would you know, to be blunt that he wasn't always in the band from listening to this? No, of course not.

I could list individual song titles, but would they mean anything? Probably not. But suffice to say that, my fears were that Suede would ruin the memory. My fears were unfounded. Every song is confident, and crafted ; as if they had been waiting a decade to emerge. No longer is Brett Anderson the hungry and naïve visionary he once was, but now - and as evidenced by the records he made since in the past decade - no longer concerned with smaller things such as pigs and nuclear skies, but has grown to a much bigger vision. There's a whole world out there, and Suede are in it up to the neck. The opening three punch of "Barriers", "Snowblind", "It Starts And Ends With You" is the strongest opening set of songs in the Suede canon since the debut.

Everything about this record screams classic Suede : at 39 minutes its short, but thankfully, shorn of the lesser stuff that should have been b-sides that dogged the later albums. In terms of look, feel, sound, content, this is the best comeback record in a very long time - and, apart from Bowie's "The Next Day" the best in my memory. And it is ideally presented : the Bloodsports are the battle, unspoken, and obvious, between the two warring factions in any relationship as they vie for position and prestige. Between the lure of the past and the hope of the future, between then and now, between me and you.

Back with a vengance.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The new 4th best Suede album, 18 Mar. 2013
By 
Chaos Theory (CloudCuckoo1440land) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bloodsports (Audio CD)
I'm listening to the last track. And it really does sound like the iconic Suede era is back. It has some of the dark-poetry from Dog Man Star but has that accessible "spot the track that couldn't be put out as a single" production of Coming Up. There are several tracks on this album which any fan or critics would include in their Best of Suede play-list long after you have stopped playing the entire album on repeat. Overall I'm going to give it 10/10. And to try and justify that objectively, this album sounds like Suede never left, it's also my new 4th favourite Suede album. Which considering the 8 or 9 year gap from Coming Up. To be able to turn back the clock to this degree is surprising. And there simply is not 1 bad track on it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A breath of fresh air, 18 Mar. 2013
This review is from: Bloodsports (Audio CD)
I must admit I didn't imagine it would be quite this good; ethereal, brooding and aggressive. Make no mistake, this is an absolute corker of a record. Suede at their best.
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