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Suede - a new morning (Polygram)

I don't think anyone would refer to a new Suede album as "eagerly awaited" these days. For a band that started out so well, they have unfortunately never been able to build on that early popularity, despite releasing some absolutely classic material over the years. However, when I stop to think about what the last truly memorable Suede song was, it's 'Film Star' from '97's "Coming up". "A new morning", alas, is not the album to drive them back up in the pop leagues, though, from the sounds of it, they've given up on all that and are working on autopilot.

'Positivity' is standard Suede, strong Bowie-esque vocals and a classic indie sound, but it fails to grab you by the throat and make you notice. 'Lost in TV' throws up a big surprise, has Brett been listening to Aslan? His own usual Bowie style seems to give way to an impression of the equally Bowie-influenced Christy Dignam at times. Maybe it's not deliberate, it's possible that the years have affected his voice and it just sounds like that, but it is strange. The song itself is a bit patchy, different vocal styles and tempo changes that don't mesh.

'Obsessions' seems to hark back to their earliest sound, but doesn't come off as 'Animal Nitrate' for the new millennium, rather the sound of a band failing to recapture the sound of their youth. Brett sounds even more like Christy on this. 'lonely girls' is better, a more mature song, simple and understated, strongly Bowie influenced. The Aslan comparison gets ridiculous on 'astrogirl', I could easily imagine them recording this (and it is as bland as Aslan's recent material).

'Beautiful loser' is a thankful release from the its slower predecessors, it's got a load guitar sound, Brett sound like someone's given him a kick up the arse and he's making an effort. It's a good rocky number and shows what they can do when they switch off the autopilot. 'Streetlife' keeps up the tempo and is actually pretty catchy, proving there's some life in these guys yet. Alas, 'untitledůmorning' is another Suede by numbers track, with a bit of a Beatles vibe going on. 'one hit to the body' is a bit better, a perfect choice for a single (even if Christy Dignam's creeping back in again), a catchy chorus and a nice light pop sound. It all finishes up with 'when the rain falls', an ill-chosen down note, it's a bog standard Suede ballad, absolutely nothing special.

Suede were never the world's most original band, but they originally had the style and panache to pull it off. Alas, it seems that these days, they couldn't really be bothered and the elements that formed the attraction only reappear in flashes. It's a pity, but on the basis of this album, their time is passed.

Donnacha DeLong

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