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4.4 out of 5 stars
Bloodsports
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 25 March 2013
Frankly, I was nervous about this album.

Suede were triumphant at their Brixton gigs last year, but that doesn't necessary mean great new material.
The last two albums before their break up were really not up to their own high standards, so there was a chance that this would be disappointing.

However, I need not have worried as this album is at the same time beautiful and dark, lyrically more open (no pigs, high rises or taxis!) and led from the back by a stomping rhythm section performance ... exactly what a Suede album should be!

`For the Strangers' and `Sometimes I feel I float away' are the stand out tracks for me, but what's great about Bloodsports is that it demands to be listened to as an album, a rarity at the moment, so do yourself a favour and switch off shuffle!

The real test for any Suede material is how it translates live, and if the XFM gig is anything to go by, these songs sound even better with that rawness that live performance brings. Anyone with a ticket to see them at Alexandra Palace should expect to be blown away!

So I have an exciting new favorite band... it just so happens they used to be my old favorite band!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2013
This review is about the quality of the vinyl version, not about the music. This vinyl record has a lovely gatefold design and a very nice big poster. I weighed the vinyl to be a full150g. This could have been a truly good LP record for suede. Unfortunately, the vinyl material is of extremely bad quality with all kinds of irregular black shades and grayscales all over both surfaces. The thick red cardboard innersleeve could have been a nice feature as well, but the inner surface is so coarse that the vinyl surfaces are full of scuff marks. If a band like this is issuing a new album with such nice songs, they should really pay more care and attention into the vinyl record production, and use better grade vinyl materials! Honestly, this is exactly like the lowest budget american reissue that is selling at $12.99. I have never seen any european LP using such a low grade vinyl material.
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on 9 June 2013
As seems to be a general consensus among reviewers, there was a feeling of trepidation for a reunion album from Suede. For fans of the Bernard Butler-era, the odds were stacked even higher. With hindsight, Coming Up was good but not great, and the two following albums definitely less so, while in the interim, the Butler-led Dog Man Star and self-titled debut, as well as the first disc of Sci-Fi Lullabies became their legacy. One can understand why Richard Oakes might have been reluctant to commit to a reunion if all he was doing is aping his predacessor. Chance was against them - as a rule, reunion albums are by and large terrible, and Suede's legacy had well and truly vanished before they acknowledged this fact and split up in 2002 - but somehow, even among the plaudits rightly thrown at their live comeback gigs, they've exceeded expectations.

Stories of them scrapping a previous album's worth of material in favour of the new songs that make up this record shows a quality control that was absent for the last 13 years, as this album can justifiably stand alongside Dog Man Star as their masterpiece. It's full of punch and attitude in the first half. Barriers is absolutely triumphant, Snowblind even more so - the ghosts of Moving and We Are The Pigs sit alongside the pop immediacy of Trash or Beautiful Ones and create something that's Suede at their most optimistic but also pummelling. The first half of the album keeps up the pace, sounding both classic and modern, but always Suede. Part of the joy of these songs is that it feels like Richard Oakes' ability as a guitarist and songwriter has finally emerged into its own entity; instead of Oakes trying to sound like he's part of Suede, Suede have adapted to fit his sound. Now, alongside Brett's ageless voice, he drives this band with his sound. That's not to do down the contributions of the other three - Mat and Simon can lay claim as one of modern music's most sympathetic and adaptable rhythm sections, and while Neil Codling is not to the forefront, his textures and writing add both weight and delicacy to the trademark Suede sound.

Where the album soars, however, is in the slower, more introspective second half. Here, shorn of the bluster, is Brett's finest vocals on some of the finest Suede songs yet. Instead of going for the grandiose and overblown - as if they sensibly realised matching something like The Wild Ones was a futile gesture- the quieter songs have their own gravitas in Brett's lyrics and understated graceful performances. At the very pinnacle of this record is What Are You Not Telling Me, a song that does little more than bubble in its own mix of piano, ambient noises and treated voices, but comes across as achingly gorgeous and shows how adapatable Suede can be in the second decade of the 21st century. The result is no less than one of the greatest songs they've ever made.

This record could have been good. There's so much of Suede's lyrical canon that is at the forefront of 21st century Britain - from stolen cars, council homes and drugs, to the dangerous notion of a broken society, the premise of the Asda Town and suburban malaise to the vapidity and disposability of art and celebrity - and it would have been simple for them to revisit these lyrical themes and coast along with a couple of easy hits. Instead, they've chosen to push themselves forward and vest these past crutches to concentrate on the future. And for that, this album can proudly stand alongside Suede's past peaks and stand as an indication of what they can produce in the future.
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on 29 September 2013
just love it.
I loved Suede up until head music.
By that time they had taken on an unnatural electronic, high quality sound that I felt just didn't suit them - too prsitine for a band that sang about the seedier side to british life.
When this album was released I had a listen on spotify (as a subscriber) and listened so often that I knew I had to purchase this. Brilliant from start to finish, this is the classic sound of Suede, except that this isn't suede repeating their first two albums - this is how they should sound, less focussed on the seedy side of love and drugs but definitely losing nothing in the songwriting and sounding a dirty and raw as they always should have
highly recommended
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on 28 June 2013
I'm one of those annoying people who liked the first three Suede albums and nothing much since. But from the opening bars of anthemic "Barriers" I was back into the band with a vengeance. It's still not quite got the majestic brilliance of tracks like "Trash" or "New Generation" or "Metal Mickey" but hey, it's their best work since Head Music so fans will love it...I think!
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on 24 March 2013
After the joke that was new morning. A caricature of a great band...it was wise they stopped. But to come back with a proper album not a retread is excellent. The greatest similarity would be the dense intensity of dog man star but it does genuinely feel like a band looking forward which is great, if not perfect.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 26 March 2013
When I first learned of a new Suede record on their website forum, I took a deep breath and I braced for the worst. Suede gave me two of the ten best albums of my lifetime in their debut and "Dog Man Star", but their most recent studio album ("A New Morning") was incredibly difficult to even sit all the way through - and let's face it... Bands getting back together and recording new material usually doesn't work.

When the band's musical genius, Bernard Butler, left the band in a huff in 1994, fans and critics just assumed they were done for. In 1996, however, they released "Coming Up", a more accessible record featuring a very young Richard Oakes and drummer Simon Gilbert's cousin Neil Codling as a new member. This record wasn't on the level of their first two Butler-penned albums, but there wasn't a significant drop-off in artistic quality and the fanbase rejoiced that they had some of the bands best tracks ever in "Beautiful Ones" and "Saturday Night".

However, in the years that followed, Brett Anderson began to have personal issues and the quality of his writing, especially his lyrics, went downhill. There were a few standout gems in tracks like "She's In Fashion" and "Can't Get Enough", but his vocal was overly - and perhaps deliberately - nasal, and his lyrics were often recycled from his other songs (litter on the breeze, etc). By the time "A New Morning" was released, we could all see that the band had hit a wall. The album featured a single standout track in "Obsessions" but songs like "Positivity" and "Streetlife" were a far cry from the artistic quality found on "Dog Man Star" and were borderline embarrassing. I'm all for evolution and changing of styles, but this wasn't growth; it was a record by a band unraveling.

Fast forward to 2011 and the band issued my favorite hits collection of all time in "The Best of Suede". Far better than their previous compilation "Singles", the two CD set showcased the band in their prime and illustrated why they were such a critical band in the 90's and to British Indie - a key reason that they were the primary influence of future bands like Bloc Party. They followed this Best of set with re-issues of their studio albums in Deluxe packages, bundling in each era's b-sides and demos.

Twenty years after the release of the band's splendid debut and a decade since their last proper studio album, Suede give us "Bloodsports". The album's lead tasters "It Starts and Ends with You" and "Barriers" are fantastic stompers that could easily give songs like "Trash" a run for their money. The lyrics on "Barriers" prove that Brett Anderson has been reinvigorated and can still tell a story. If I'm being honest, I still cringed at a few lyrics like Sabotage's "her touch is like a Raven's shadow", but the backing music is so fantastic and fresh that you can look past these moments of weakness and praise the band for even being able to follow "A New Morning" with something this great.

The highlight of this record, really, is the guitar playing. The inventiveness and the artistry really shines through on each and every song. It's so good that I was surprised to learn that Neil Codling had actually written a good portion of the album's music. Songs like the aforementioned "Sabotage", "Snowblind", "Hit Me", "For the Strangers" and "What Are You Not Telling Me" are all standouts and can hold up to the lead single "It Starts and Ends with You".

I haven't had a Suede album since "Coming Up" that I could listen to all the way through without the desire to skip over tracks. (You didn't skip over "Elephant Man" ever? Come on...) More than that, it's the first album by ANY artist that I haven't skipped over tracks since BLOC PARTY's "Silent Alarm".

One side note: Track 8, "What Are You Not Telling Me", is mastered very, very loudly. It sounds harsh and out of tune and sometimes distorted. It's a shame because it's a great song.

I won't bother using the phrase "a return to form", but the album is just so fantastic. It appears that we have thought the band were dead on multiple occasions now and they just keep charging back stronger. If you have the opportunity, grab "Dawn Chorus" - the best of the 4 non-LP tracks. Many will insist that "No Holding Back" is the best track because it's rare and they shelled out over a hundred pounds for a box set that offers this track exclusively, but it isn't nearly as memorable as "Dawn Chorus". Also, there have been grumblings by fans about the packaging and quality of the Super Deluxe Edition and the high price for that box set, but don't let that deter you from buying the best album of 2013.
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on 29 April 2013
Suede back on the form of the mid nineties.....'starts and ends with you ' a classic single for 2013, with the power of their nineties melodies
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on 10 May 2013
It was worth waiting 10 years for the return of Suede.
This album is wonderful, powerful, elegant ... the Suede's brand
I just loved
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 19 March 2013
Great return to form from a band that was the best in its day
Remember seeing them in blackpool at the start still one od the most memorable gigs ever!!!! Sabotage ,it starts..._ .snowblind. hit me all amazing ..
If u like suede this is a must!!!!
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