Brett Anderson is racing around Europe. To present his latest album, Slow Attack, that I love and described as ‘introspective chamber music‘. But, wow, his Antwerp show (at Trix) was not a slow attack, given the power, the fierceness, the electricity. A true hold-up on all of our senses.
Brett (and terrific band) started off with complete re-inventions of some slower songs, giving them a furious Suede jacket while keeping the personal intensity of the lyrics. Overflown in feedback, hyperkinetic guitar plucks, melodic bass and powerful (yet female) piano cuts. Noise. Hot. Rock.
Still, the heavier approach fluently and easily transited into fractions of (solo) stillness. Moments of complete (!) silence. Complementing voices. Emotional tension. With or without band. A heartbreaking crooner. The new Brett that we have come to appreciate so much. Although he swayed and moved like in his early Suede days.
What a pleasure! The grin on his face. The determination to conquer. Close contact with the audience. A confident artist in top shape. All of his incarnations in one concert. There are few to compete him.
This is the music that takes me to a different place. With the wild ones.
The new Brett Anderson album is rightfully called Slow Attack. Once it would have been hard to imagine that this hyperactive Suede frontman would ever produce such slow, introspective chamber music. But all together it has been a natural evolution over his (3 by now) solo albums. And the impressive Union Chapel (live) recordings.
The album shows, musically as in its photography, the shadows and the vague silhouette of a former rock star. Hidden face. Eyes that have seen it all. A (still) large voice no longer needs an electrical storm of guitars and attitude to strike down listeners and audience. A piano, a cello and related humble instrumentation. Lightning still. On a long and slow night, when the cold is shut outside by his warming tunes. Fireplace joy. Especially on a winter’s night. The beauty of frozen stillness.
He was in my Top 2007 (his self-titled ‘debut’) and Top 2008 (Wilderness). A little voice in me says he will appear in my Top 2009…
1/ After long and hard consideration, the jury put Coldplay with Prospekt’s March on top of 2008’s releases. It is considered an unprecedented example of post-completion to an already genuinely great work, Viva La Vida (or Death and all His Friends).
The jury particularly appreciates the massive consistency. Personally I also love the guys for using the ghost title of the pre-release Viva.
2/ Not to be forgotten, to say the least, are:
- Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts. Genius re-emerges beyond words
- Brett Anderson – Wilderness. Former glam star contemplates (still)
- The Verve – Forth. Grinding comeback with beatle-esque dignity
3/ The jury got used to the high performance level of Usual Suspects:
- Kaiser Chiefs – Off With Their Heads.
4/ Unofficial commenting of the jury:
- Eva De Roovere – Over & weer. Bevestiging van -levende- belofte
- CPeX – Verzameld. Schitterende wederkomst onder de zon
- Alanis Morissette – Flavors of Entanglement. Expanded scapes
The follow-up to Brett Anderson‘s 1st (self-titled) solo album Wilderness is now available in digital stores. Perfect mother’s day gift for Moekie.
September will see the physical release, and probably I won’t be able to resist it (although iTunes kindly included the booklet ànd a bonus track).
fyi: my wife and I were dedicated Suede fans. Glam-trash drama. We went to a lot of their electrifying live shows. Dog Man Star is one of our all-time favourites, with The 2 Of Us as the opening dance of our wedding. We liked the projects of original band mate Bernard Butler, solo (2 albums) and with McAlmont (soul heroes for 2 albums). But the return of the duo as The Tears (2005) did not bring back all of the old magic.
After Brett‘s 1st solo album, we saw him play brilliantly in the Botanique in Brussels (with Suede’s Mat Osman). We enjoyed the electrical new and Suede tracks, but were ecstatic about the unexpected, but incredible acoustic (solo) performance. It certainly revealed an unexplored, pure side to the Suede songs, structures and lyrics, but also unleashed the ‘new’ artist in Brett.
Upon that experience we purchased the exclusive acoustic Live at Union Chapel recording. And the succeeding concerts with a string ensemble (still available here) seem to have finally inspired him to write and record new songs (in 7 days) with no more than a cellist as main compagnon:
My top music selection for 2007:
1. Editors – An End Has A Start watch / 2. Bloc Party – A Weekend In The City / 3. PJ Harvey – White Chalk / 4. Interpol – Our Love To Admire / 5. Kaiser Chiefs – Yours Truly, Angry Mob / 6. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible / 7. Grinderman / 8. Arctic Monkeys – Favorite Worst Nightmare / 9. Brett Anderson
Fascinating and hopeful to find that there are bands able to put out a second recording that exceeds their already incredible debut album.