Save for "Julian's Eyes", which brings a louche cabaret mood towards the end of the album, Slow Attack finds Brett Anderson in strangely pastoral mode, eschewing the sleazy outsider urban glamour which once obsessed his muse, in favour of brisk, improving constitutionals and reflections upon the changing seasons.
Where, for instance, a track titled "Frozen Roads" might once have involved crack, smack and guttersnipe grime, here it finds him musing upon how "the snow in February falls, painting winter hollow". It's an odd, but welcome, development: this is by far his best solo effort, the collaboration with producer/arranger Leo Abrahams prompting Anderson's most interesting output since his alliance with Bernard Butler. Abrahams has created a chamber-folk palette, similar to that employed by Sting on his Christmas album, using piano, cello, hurdy-gurdy and plenty of reedy woodwind to conjure up Anderson's bucolic imagery. It's not entirely successful, but discreet touches such as the thumb-piano-like marxophone in "Ashes Of Us" and the keening, discordant angularity of the reeds in "The Hunter" help Anderson map out his most promising new direction in over a decade.
Download this The Hunted; Frozen Roads; Ashes Of Us