Arts

Music Scene: Suede's Night Thoughts sets the bar high for 2016

There's a hunger and swagger to Night Thoughts that echoes Suede's much-loved debut album but it's by no means a throwback
John Kearns

SUEDE have delivered a stunning new album entitled Night Thoughts. Available to download from today, the band's latest record is dark, twisted, mysterious and is as good as anything they have ever managed to concoct.

There is a hunger and a swagger about Night Thoughts that echoes Suede's much loved first album (in my opinion one of the finest debuts in alternative rock history) but this is by no means a throwback – the songs on this record brim with refreshed confidence and a forward-thinking attitude.

Brett Anderson's Bowiesque vocal tendency is still very much evident as is his penchant for emotive lyrics and abstract themes but there is something particularly committed about this album. Perhaps it's the fact that it unfolds as one eloquently told story of a drowning man's thoughts of his life flashing before his eyes, focussing largely on regret and disillusion.

Sounds a bit heavy? That's because it is but don't be fooled into thinking that Suede's seventh studio album is a self-indulgent miserable concept album – far from it, Night Thoughts rocks hard, is filled with addictive rifts and crashing rhythms and soaring choruses that will blow away your winter cobwebs with style and panache.

There are of course some fragile, provocative moments where the tempo dips and the waves of keyboards and fragmented guitar chords gather you in their arms but in the main this record is a muscular and boisterous affair that is as headstrong as it is entertaining.

Outsiders is a truly anthemic indie rock song laced with swirling guitars and dizzying vocals while Pale Snow is a cinematic and epic electronic tale that comes across like the final numbingly tense scene in a spaghetti western. No Tomorrow is a full-on jangly guitar romp that features a totally signature performance from Anderson – swooping through the highs and lows with the greatest of ease.

In fact if someone had never heard Suede before and was curious to sample their sound, this song would be the perfect reference point. That might just be a vital reason why Night Thoughts works so well.

Suede 2016 is progressive but at the same time the band have maintained both their identity and integrity, drawing on the sound that defined them but refusing to rest on any laurels.

There are reflections of some of the great vintage Suede moments such as Animal Nitrate, Moving, Killing of A Flashboy and Trash on this new album but there is as much future as there is past on what is an excellent return to form.

Night Thoughts has set the bar for 2016 in terms of alternative rock records. Let's hope others accept the challenge.

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