Suede delivers the third instalment in their string of comeback records The Blue Hour, transporting the listener into a place Brett Anderson has called “suedeworld” – a place in which lyricism is key.
Suede has never been afraid to manipulate conventional genres to their liking. This is pushed further than perhaps ever before in their latest offering The Blue Hour creating a somewhat chaotic glimpse into the expansive and dark mind of frontman, Brett Anderson.
As the album opener, ‘As One’ kicks in, it is clear to see that this album is far away from the previous ‘Beautiful Ones’ sound of Suede. Featuring a nightmarish set of strings that help the forthcoming feelings of isolation and claustrophobia, coupled with the dark nature of Anderson’s lyrics, the track is spine-chilling. Lines such as: “I’ll suffer your indifference” being chief among them.
The lyrical stance of this song provides a youthful view of the world, maybe brought about by Anderson’s experiences with fatherhood? ‘Wastelands’ follows. The track keeps to the theme of isolation going through the album, albeit with more of a glam styling to the track, with guitar riffs inter-twining with the drums, creating a large juxtaposition between the lyrical nature of the track and the instrumental.
Even single ‘Don’t Be Afraid If Nobody Loves You’ still feels alien to the listener. Despite a hard, familiar sounding guitar riff, provided by Richard Oakes, and the chilling-familiarity of Anderson’s vocals, it still succeeds in making the listener feel on-edge, despite the significant sing-a-long nature of the soaring chorus.
The album is also littered with references to Anderson’s new, rural life. With songs such as ‘Flytipping’ and ‘Roadkill’ being some of the most obvious examples of this. With these songs Anderson is clear in showing that he has lyrically mellowed very little, opening the track ‘Roadkill’ with the simply haunting, deadpan delivery of: “Today I found a dead bird”. It shows nothing short of a bleak outlook in what some would consider an idyllic setting.
Suede’s The Blue Hour provides an interesting listen to fans of the band. It provides the largest insight into the ever-expanding realm of “Suedeworld” that any of their new albums have reached. Some may be put off by the albums 14 track long listing, some of which fail to live up to the previously set quality. However, when the album hits the mark it does so in a way in which the band may never have done before, in nailing the darker tones. One can only be glad that the rest of us fail to inhabit “Suedeworld”.