Bloodsports | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Tuesday, January 19th, 2021  




Mar 15, 2013 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

After an 11-year dearth of new material, Britpop’s pompous progenitors are back from what we’d long feared might be the musical hereafter. And thankfully, Suede aren’t re-uniting under false pretenses and with fresh faces: this is a full return of the band’s longest-lived lineup. Bloodsports is the sort of comeback record that any band returning after a decade-long hiatus can only hope for: Suede is back, without the least hint of dust or deterioration.

     Right from the beginning, with the half-minute lead-in to “Barriers,” Bloodsports sounds like core Suede. They’ve brought back Ed Buller, their go-to producer from the debut through the third album, and he’s given it all a vintage gloss; Brett Anderson’s vocals are brazenly up-front in the mix, and the guitar tones are as gratifyingly dirty-sounding as they were during the band’s prime. Tonally, Bloodsports strikes a pose somewhere between the magnificently dark Dog Man Star and its more upbeat successor, Coming Up. Clamorous rockers such as the fuzzed-out “Hit Me” and hooky “It Starts and Ends With You” are threaded in with moodier numbers, such as the splendidly melodramatic “Sabotage” and “For the Strangers.” Anderson takes the pageantry even further in the pleading balladry of “What Are You Not Telling Me?” and the aching “Always.” This is far from a subtle record, but Suede’s propensity for emotional showboating is one of those endearing traits that always set them apart from their contemporaries.

     You don’t need to be told how rare it is for a band to disappear for a decade and then bounce back without seeming to miss a beat. Their time away is instantly forgiven: Suede sounds rejuvenated here. Calling Bloodsports a comeback album almost seems to belittle just how strong a record it really is; it’s nearly as good as any they’ve put out before. (

Author rating: 8.5/10

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