suede - reissue reviews

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sunshine
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suede - reissue reviews

Post by sunshine » 31 May 2011, 07:39

http://www.superdeluxeedition.com/revie ... on-review/

As Suede practised in rehearsal rooms in East London in late 1991 all the pieces of the jigsaw were about to fall into place. Justine Frischman had broken up with lead singer Brett Anderson and started dating Damon Albarn of Blur. Shortly after this, she left the band and things started to happen…

The “Best New Band in Britain” (as Melody Maker famously proclaimed) was no upstart punk band wanting to make a ‘noise’ – with Brett and Bernard Butler they had two individuals who aspired to a songwriting tradition that went right back to the 1940s. One man would write the music while the other came up with the lyrics and melody. In the mix was two decades of pop/rock influence from David Bowie to The Smiths, T-Rex to Lloyd Cole. Crucially, in addition to this song craft, Suede had a front man in Brett who, unlike the shoe-gazers of the ‘baggy’ UK music scene of the late 80s, held his head up high and performed with confidence, glamour and an abundance of sexual energy.

Much has been made of the vacuum that was the UK music scene around this time, but there were a few bands around who Suede could broadly view as contemporaries. Luke Haine’s The Auteurs would go on to produce an excellent debut in New Wave, but they were too interested in anti-establishment posturing to fully engage with their own audience, while Blur at this time were grumpily uncertain as to how their second album should sound, and looked determined to self-destruct.

But Suede were anything but uncertain. They became the-most-written-about-band-in-the-UK, as during 1992 and early 1993, each of their first three singles improved upon the chart position of it’s predecessor. Animal Nitrate, the third single, hit the top ten and was archetypal ‘Suede’ witha lyric referencing drugs, sex, and broken homes set to Bernard Butler’s distinctive overdriven guitar.

By early spring 1993, Suede were an unstoppable force with an ever-growing, loyal following of fans, who understood, or even related to, the songs of alienation, suburban ennui and hopelessness. When the self-titled debut was finally released in March, it went straight to no.1. It would go on the win the 1993 Mercury Music Prize for the band. They would never receive such unanimous critical acclaim again.

Suede has been remastered and is re-released this week by Edsel Records as a superb 2CD+DVD Deluxe Edition full of demos, b-sides, and some unreleased tracks. It is the start of a five-week campaign which will see all the Suede albums reissued as Deluxe Editions.

When first issued, this album received glowing reviews. At the time, it was a freshly minted debut being reviewed by journalists bored by grunge and desperate for the next ‘big thing’. In retrospect, they can be forgiven for going a little overboard and it could be argued that they balanced things out by rather under-appreciating the follow-up Dog Man Star.

This is not to say that Suede didn’t deserve the plaudits. It is still a very good album. The four singles remain the best thing on it, and it gets off to a spirited start with So Young followed by Animal Nitrate. The main problem is that it could have been so much better. The Beatles’ Please Please Me could have been a debut from heaven, had the fab four included their early a-sides, such as She Loves You and I Wanna Hold Your Hand, and in a similar way Suede could have been much improved, had they included early b-sides.

You have to admire the band’s Smiths-like commitment to the 12″ (and CD Single) format at the time, as they – eager to please and impress their fans – happily consigned some of their best songs of this period to b-side status. Tracks that deserved to take to the main stage, ended up with bit-parts. With early singles such as The Drowners it was probably too early to be thinking about album running orders and tracklistings (the album was still 10 months away) and understandably the band wanted to make these singles as good as they could be.

One person who was early to recognise the songwriting skills of Anderson/Butler, was Morrissey, who famously covered the exquisite My Insatiable One (b-side of The Drowners) on his 1992 tour. He’s Dead, from the flip-side of the Metal Mickey single, is another corker of a song, notable for featuring Brett’s ‘official’ favourite opening line “I wake up every day” (reused on New Generation from Dog Man Star) and for being far better than it’s contrary ‘sister’ track She’s Not Dead which did make the album.

Suede is curiously lacking in mid-paced songs. The decent songs with momentum and energy are the singles and the album is hampered by far too many ponderous, maudlin, slow tracks. The likes of Sleeping Pills, Breakdown, The Next Life and Pantomime Horse all have their merits but the funereal pace starts to drag after a while. Again, b-sides would have improved things. To The Birds, the other great track from The Drowners, shares some lyrical themes with those album tracks, but improves on them by way of it’s perky arrangement and pithy lyrics.

Brett and Bernard probably thought they could churn out semi-classics at will, but when it came to it, they ended up having to include on the album some rather substandard fare such as Animal Lover and Moving which may have worked well live, but don’t compare well to the b-sides previously mentioned.

The good news is that CD2 in this deluxe edition includes ALL of the b-sides from this period. So if you don’t own any of these early singles, or the Sci-Fi Lullabies b-sides collection from 1997 you are in for a treat. This disc is finished off with a few unreleased tracks, the most interesting of which is Just A Girl featuring Justine Frischman. It’s an earnest, folky tune, with Justine providing vocal harmonies, and provides a rare insight into how an alternate-reality Suede might have sounded.

The seven demos at the end of the album on CD1 demonstrate just how much Suede were in control of the sound they wanted and how the arrangements should work, because apart from lacking a little polish (as you would expect), they are, for the most part, very similar to the final album versions.

The DVD included with this deluxe edition is about as comprehensive as you would want, including, as it does, all the promo videos (including the rather boring US version of The Drowners), the ’93 Brits Award performance of Animal Nitrate (in front of a dull industry crowd), The Love and Poison – Live from Brixton film, which has never been reissued on DVD, and Live from Leadmill (Sheffield) another performance from early ’93 captured in rather rough and ready fashion, but no less compelling for it. In fact, Love and Poison is so overblown in terms of editing and motion effects, that it just distracts from the performance rather than enhancing or drawing you into it. It’s like a watching a 60 minute promo video set to a live soundtrack. The Leadmill performance does not look professionally filmed but is the more enjoyable watch because it’s just the band performing live without any gimmicks.

By far the most revealing and interesting element of the DVD is the modestly titled ‘Bonus DVD feature’ which is a recent interview with Brett and Bernard (together) chatting candidly about the beginnings of the band, how they wrote the songs, and generally what it was like to be in the eye of the storm back in late ’92 and early ’93. Superb.

The deluxe edition is presented as a thick four-panel digi-pack with an excellent booklet with all the lyrics and a few paragraphs from Brett on how he feels about the album nearly 20 years on. He also provides us with a fascinating ‘alternate’ version of the Suede tracklisting where he retrospectively makes a few changes. Some great period photography enhances the whole package. Edsel have done a superb job on this.

It is good news for the record buying public that such time and care is being taken over Suede’s back catalogue. Suede and all the forthcoming reissues will at least preserve for posterity the band’s high quality non-album output and with the DVD presented here, we are given the opportunity to peak back at 1992/3 and remember (or understand) what all the fuss was about. This comes highly recommended.

sunshine
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Re: suede - reissue reviews

Post by sunshine » 31 May 2011, 07:42

http://drownedinsound.com/releases/1624 ... ws/4142750

There was a joke I heard somewhere on Drowned in Sound last year referring to last year's Suede Best Of album stating 'There already is a best-of. It’s called Dog Man Star'. Pithy and intelligent; I laughed. But it isn’t true. Because although Dog Man Star arguably contains more individually brilliant moments, there is a serious case for referring to their 1993 debut as overall, being their most complete realisation.

The album emerged into an era when British music had precious little identity. Cowered into trembling submission by grunge, too terrified to fully open the door to acid house, still attempting to reconcile the death of the overblown synth-pop era that had preceded it. And so, their debut album rose from the mist; not so much into daylight but into day-glo, wide-pupil fluorescence with a record drenched in individuality, bound with delicious confusion and crackling with sexual charge. The rest (as described wonderfully by John Harris in his excellent book The Last Party) is history: Blur, Elastica, Oasis, Britpop, overexposure, New Labour, Be Here Now, death. Somewhere in that whirl of celebrity and cocaine, Suede got lost. But time corrects the crossing out.

For a debut, especially considering how out-of-place it was at the time of release, Suede - remastered here by the band, including Butler - is a staggeringly confident and forthright statement. It embraces complicated lyrical themes with maturity and genuine pathos, masking the darkness of the concepts with dense imagery and double-meaning without sacrificing any transparent musical premise or thrill. Despite this, it remains a remarkably bleak record at times, especially on the windswept film noir piers of ‘Sleeping Pills’, bedecked in the most beautiful trailing fronds of lead guitar, and the ethereal, trembling ‘She’s Not Dead’. It also contains moments of genuine threat, tension and fear; notably in the perverse promise of ‘So Young’ and the personality crisis of ‘Pantomime Horse’. Studded in between all this are the indie-disco gems: the glam-rock stomp of ‘Metal Mickey’ and the immortal incandescence of ‘Animal Nitrate’, Anderson’s voice almost cleaved in two by the hacking slashes of Butler’s overdriven guitar. Finishing with the heartbreakingly beautiful, perfectly understated conclusion of ‘The Next Life’, the entire record is a complex combination of emotions, thoughts and feelings into one intensely fuelled, yet perfectly coherent statement. It’s hardly surprising that Suede found such a niche among the wandering teenagers of early Nineties Britain: Suede is practically the teenage experience defined in album form.

Musically, they were intensely skilled, at a time when the there was a tendency to lean on dull, grunge-lite dirges. Bernard Butler, arguably the most naturally talented musician, was one of a number of quintessentially British lead guitar players to emerge between 1985 and 1994 who eschewed cliché in favour of a no-nonsense, unadorned yet forward-thinking approach to lead guitar playing. Alongside him, the hugely underestimated rhythm section of Simon Gilbert and Matt Osman pin the whole thing down to prevent it falling off its own axis (Osman’s bass playing in particular is a perfect foil to Butler: solid when required, brilliantly melodic when called upon). And then there is Anderson. Never the most natural singer and a polarising voice, but utterly compelling and committed; able to flip from deep growl to searing falsetto with his estuary accent still preserved within his utterances, pleas and exaltations. They never limit themselves and never repeat, striving to outdo themselves at every turn. The reason that their debut succeeds so gloriously is that it somehow manages to breathlessly dash around so many corners of the musical map in under 45 minutes, without ever compromising its quality or clarity of vision.

Reissues can be problematic in that too often they effectively attempt to sell the same product with a smattering of inconsequential add-ons. What is thoroughly impressive about the Suede reissue is the considerable lengths that Edsel Records have gone to in drawing together a genuine snapshot of the context of the band at the time of release. The extras here are truly breathtaking in scale, including a full CD of B-Sides from the album, taking in the likes of the fizzing glamour of ‘My Insatiable One’ and the still-beautiful ‘To The Birds’ from the flipside of ‘The Drowners’: as equal quality of anything on the record. A collection of assorted demos also grace the second CD, outlining that Suede had their masterplan in place from the beginning: the embryonic versions are directly comparable to the finished items in composition and structure. Amongst the demos sits a rough-hewn demo of Anderson and Justin Frischmann singing along to ‘Just a Girl’; a sweet folk ditty that will intrigue those aware of the incestuous London Britpop scene, but ultimately sounds like any other bedroom demo, giving little warning of what was to come.

And then there is the DVD, which will frankly, have Suede obsessives groaning and gasping with joy. Two complete and exceptional concerts are included: Sheffield Leadmill and the (until now unreleased on DVD) Love and Poison concert from Brixton Academy in 1993, showing the band at their raw and eloquent best; Anderson preening and preaching with effortless cool while Butler meticulously beats seven shades of wonder out of his Gibson. The concert is wonderful, though the footage still suffers from some ludicrously Eighties fading and cutting. And as if that wasn’t enough, there are also the complete videos for all four of the album's singles and a scintillating performance of 'Animal Nitrate' from the 1993 Brit Awards (still in the 'uptight' Brits era; it must have scared the shit out the prim and proper audience). Add to that a revealing, poignant interview with Anderson and Butler and you have a quite remarkable package of sound and vision to treasure. Credit is due for treating long-term fans with respect and giving them something new to file alongside their worn copy of the original album: more labels could learn from this approach.

Stripping away the videos, costumes, sex and sensationalism; what ultimately defines the classic nature of Suede is the fact that, unlike so many records of its time, it simply hasn’t dated. There hasn’t been a British band since that has been able to pull off such a wide variety of influences, chemicals and hormones and yet still sound so integrated, focused and immediate. Suede tapped into a vein of society that was bored, homogenised and intensely resentful towards a lack of icons and made people want to strike out as individuals, accept their quirks and flaws and turn them to their advantage. This reissue serves to remind those outside of the bubble of just how astonishingly exciting guitar music can be when it throws all caution to the wind and embraces the past and the future in a fierce, passionate bear hug. It hasn’t aged; it still sounds magnificent. With the right moon, the right time and the right place, it still has the potency and power to change your life. And that is the alchemy that the truly great albums retain over the years. What does it take to turn you on?

Suede 10 / 10

sunshine
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Re: suede - reissue reviews

Post by sunshine » 01 Jun 2011, 18:30

apparently, there is an issue with the dvd as it is out of synch?
http://forum.suede.co.uk/read.php?2,25654

and mark, you are not the only one:
http://forum.suede.co.uk/read.php?2,25767

mark
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Re: suede - reissue reviews

Post by mark » 01 Jun 2011, 21:25

omg!!!! sounds a bit of a mess lol!!!... They've had the finished versions in their hands for a longggggggggg time now so there shouldn;t be any synch issue!!!... :shock: :? :roll: Although a half second difference doesn't sound too bad!!!!... I'll have to see when/if I get mine!!!!...

Florence
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Re: suede - reissue reviews

Post by Florence » 01 Jun 2011, 22:33

believe me, for having worked on video/sound synchronisation, half a second is huge!
grrr can't stand bad synchronisation :( it breaks it all
should get my copy tomorrow (finally foot are faster than post)

sunshine
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Re: suede - reissue reviews

Post by sunshine » 02 Jun 2011, 06:15

:(

Florence
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Re: suede - reissue reviews

Post by Florence » 02 Jun 2011, 15:55

finally not.. foot are not faster than post
they don't have it (yet) at fnac :(
girl said they order them from..(didn't remember the name), they will probably get them all 5 at once, so end of month i guess!!
après on va dire que l'industrie du disque va mal..

sunshine
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Re: suede - reissue reviews

Post by sunshine » 02 Jun 2011, 18:37

:shock: :(

my marylin
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Re: suede - reissue reviews

Post by my marylin » 02 Jun 2011, 19:13

Dvd-problem: why on earth didn't they check the dvd's before the release. This is oppe. Love & Poison is a wonderful concert film. Love it.

mark
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Re: suede - reissue reviews

Post by mark » 02 Jun 2011, 21:00

I said exactly the same thing - they've had these re-issues ready ages ago so really it's poor if there is a problem like that without checking...

sunshine
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Re: suede - reissue reviews

Post by sunshine » 03 Jun 2011, 06:08

:(

sunshine
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Re: suede - reissue reviews

Post by sunshine » 18 Oct 2011, 06:08

they sent me a new dvd back in june for this... and last week I got my Coming Up one too. :D

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Re: suede - reissue reviews

Post by metalmickey » 18 Oct 2011, 17:53

sunshine wrote:they sent me a new dvd back in june for this... and last week I got my Coming Up one too. :D
Same here :)

sunshine
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Re: suede - reissue reviews

Post by sunshine » 18 Oct 2011, 18:29

coool :D

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Re: suede - reissue reviews

Post by mark » 21 Oct 2011, 17:32

I had enough trouble with getting the dvds in the first place - so what all these months later i;m now meant to copmplain and ask for new copies - what a load of shit... really annoying, i'll keep my fucked up copies I guess... :x :x :x :x :evil: :evil: :evil:

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