Album: Suede, Bloodsports (Warner)

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The Independent Culture

Well, what did you expect? A sad attempt to recapture former glories? You were half-right.

Bloodsports, the first Suede album since their ignominious fizzle 11 years ago, is an exhilarating attempt to recapture those glories. Recorded with early producer Ed Buller, it's what everyone wanted: a Suede album in every respect, from the brash, vibrant guitars and Brett Anderson's thrilling vocals right down to the b'boom-boom before each chorus.

Lyrically, we're straight into Suede-world too: there may be no poison rain or nuclear wind, but there are aniseed kisses, roman candles, dandelion clocks and aerosol cans, gutters and drains, scratches and scars, references to Penguin Modern Classics and "a hairline crack in a radiator, leaking life".

Bloodsports repeats the Dog Man Star trick of loading the barnstorming glam-indie anthems – typified by the single "It Starts and Ends with You" – towards the front, and ending on a run of showstopping slowies.

In the canon, Bloodsports is effortlessly superior to its predecessor A New Morning, and averages out roughly on a level with Head Music (though more consistent in quality).

Suede aren't just back. Suede are Suede.