It’s been three years since Suede released Bloodsports: Three years since the release of Bloodsports was somewhat overshadowed by Bowie’s The Next Day. Though releases (and obvious tragic events) have once again coincided with Suede’s album release, they were seemingly prepared for it this time. Night Thoughts – which accompanies a film of the same name – is grand: it’s and older and wiser reinvention, but still fundamentally Suede. After all, with a voice as distinct as Brett Anderson’s, Suede will never not be recognisable.
The worry that this might be too far from the norm for Suede disappears quickly after the first track. The strings and intense cinematic feel of ‘When You Are Young’ quickly fade into ‘Outsiders’. With a name like ‘Outsiders’, it couldn’t be anything but Suede, and with its chorus consisting mainly of Anderson emotionally wailing the track title it brings back the familiarity of the band. I only wish it happened a little bit more on the rest of the album.
It’s perhaps unfair, though, to wish for more familiarity. Night Thoughts is exciting in the fact that it’s completely new – sure, it sounds like Suede, but there’s no direct musical links to previous albums like there has been in the past. It was seemingly time for the band to take a new, deeper direction and while I can’t help but long for a few more quirky vocals and exciting opening riffs, there’s no denying the strength of Night Thoughts.
And of course, Suede haven’t completely denied us the right to dance. Amongst the slower tracks, they throw in the likes of ‘Like Kids’ and ‘What I’m Trying To Tell You’; a healthy dose of driven guitars that conjure up images of Anderson flailing about on stage and make you want to do the same.
Finishing with the goosebump raising ‘The Fur And The Feathers’, it’s made definitively clear that Night Thoughts was made for film. It’s a whole new level of emotion for Suede, and definitely a tricky one for me to grasp (I’ve never been too big a fan of grandiose and cinematic); but I’ve always been a fan of Suede’s and it’d be wrong to pretend they don’t pull it off. Very few bands can pull off a string section quite so casually and this is an evolution I’ll willingly accept.
Night Thoughts is out now via Warner Music UK Ltd.