Suede – Bloodsports
Release Date: 18 March 2013
Label: Warner Bros.
- Barriers [MV]
- It Starts and Ends With You [MV]
- For the Strangers [MV]
- Hit Me [MV]
- Sometimes I Feel I’ll Float Away
- What Are You Not Telling Me
- Dawn Chorus (Bonus)
- Howl (Bonus)
I’ll be the first to admit I’d never actually listened to Suede before this album. It wasn’t a conscious avoidance at all, I’d just never heard of the band before. That being said, when I listened to their latest release I was pleasantly surprised. The sound is classic, definitely harkening back to a period of honest to goodness Brit rock, reminiscent of the Brothers Gallagher.
Bloodsports is quite a refreshing album. For all the R&B and Soul, bubblegum and dubstep, one can forget that rock’s history in England is quite steep and multifaceted. Suede brings us its latest work, an album that’s very much of a vintage every listener can appreciate. The gallant entrance, something mystical and triumphant – all heavy drums and almost heroic guitars – of Barriers is quite a way to start the album. Given the title, it’s surprising how free and unbridled the sound actually is. There’s an incredible bigness and fearlessness in it, something that seems to reach out and grab listeners in its grandeur: “It trapped you once, and it’ll trap you again.”
From there, Bloodsports continues to whisk us away in its large sound. As with a lot of Brit rock, there’s very little let down, entire albums starting strong and continuing to ride the high. Suede’s latest is not exception. From there we get five powerful tracks in quick succession (Snowblind, It Starts and Ends With You, Sabotage, For the Strangers, and Hit Me). Only after track six do we get time to breathe and fully immerse ourselves in the actual emotion of the album. Sometimes I Feel I’ll Float Away is an apt title for a song that follows such intensity. It allows us a chance to actual peek inside the band’s vulnerability and truly feel a part of their experience.
Following the open candor of Sometimes I Feel I’ll Float Away, Bloodsports just becomes a crucible of sensations. What Are You Not Telling Me? is not only a glorious tune, it just so happens to be the album’s most daunting. The instrumentation is more simplistic – simply using a synthesizer, a guitar, and a pure vocal. What’s so incredibly brilliant about the track is just how multifaceted it is. The sound is rich, grandiose and decadent. It’s a sound that aims to envelope the listener and allow her to see the pain and yearning through the eyes of the singers. Really, it’s just an incredibly beautiful track.
Though Bloodsports seemed to be slightly more one-dimensional than the group’s reputation allows, in the end, Suede produced some truly evocative music, songs that are equal parts emotional and powerful. Their sound goes a bit beyond the Britpop that seems to have followed them during the earliest parts of their career. What they gave us with Bloodsports is just fantastically constructed music that touches a deep part in all of us that’s eager to stay connected to our youthfully audacious selves.
You can listen to Bloodsports on Xiami and Spotify. You can buy it on iTunes or Amazon (CD, MP3, Vinyl).
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