January 22 2016 (Warner Music)
Words: Alison Mack
'Night Thoughts' is the 'big' January album: Suede's follow-up to 2013's 'Bloodsports' and the seventh in the career of the former Britpoppers, who regrouped three years ago after a lengthy lay-off.
The 12 track work, recorded in London and Brussels with longtime producer Ed Buller, runs on continuously without pause, like a train of thoughts. It is dark and ambitious, and shows the now 48-year-old Anderson more reflective and pensive in outlook, dealing with issues of life, death, depression, love and anguish. Some songs were inspired by the birth of Anderson’s son; other tracks are fictional, a concept record written to accompany the Roger Sargent film that takes a suicide and runs back through his life.
The album opens with the sweeping orchestral 'When You Are Young' - later reprised with its back-to-back partner title, 'When You Were Young' - the dramatic strings acting as a counterpoint to Anderson's vocal (a tone now grown rounder with age).
'Tightrope' and 'I Can’t Give Her What She Wants' - particularly the repeated title refrain of the latter - are striking in restrained harmony, while the catchy 'Like Kids' takes a children’s choir as Anderson sings: “Like kids/like savages/We’ll run in the playground/if you just stay with me.”
'No Tomorrow' and 'What I’m Trying To Tell You' hark back to Suede's heyday, while both 'Outsiders' and 'I Don’t Know How To Reach You' owe much to the admitted influence of David Bowie.
'Night Thoughts' will undoubtedly give pause for thought for Suede fans of old as much as will likely draw in those coming to the band as similar mid-years life reflectors.