Looks like the glory days are long gone.
Rob Crossan 2009-10-30
Of all the stars that shone during the salad days of Britpop, few have faded as comprehensively as ex-Suede vocalist Brett Anderson.
As Jarvis Cocker continues to release critically acclaimed albums, albeit to a far reduced audience than he was reaching a decade ago, and Damon Albarn, Anderson’s old nemesis, swings effortlessly from Chinese opera to Malian blues to cartoon pop, barely a ripple of recognition has been given to Anderson’s solo releases since the general indifference to his reunion with Suede guitarist Bernard Butler as The Tears in 2004.
This is Brett’s third solo album in as many years, and proof that the glory days are long gone is apparent in this record’s seemingly wilful inability to contain anything approaching a solid tune.
Minimal piano and woodwind abound on tracks such as The Swan and opener Hymn, where Anderson’s wobbly vibrato struggles to find the right key. There’s a spectral folk feel to Wheatfields, where the rolling acoustic guitar stubbornly refuses to go anywhere beyond one, quickly tiresome, riff.
Anderson claims that Slow Attack was inspired by absorbing himself in cinematic scores, but there’s little here of interest to fans of Morricone et al. Indeed, even if so many of the tracks didn’t slip through the speakers in a semi-comatose state, any redeeming qualities in the Mark Hollis-influenced musical arrangements are let down by the lyrics. It’s tragic indeed to hear the man behind such literate gems as Animal Nitrate and Stay Together descend to bleating inanities like “I am the hunter, you are the hunted” on The Hunted, a track with anthemic pretensions which actually just sounds dull.
It appears doubtful that even hardcore, ageing Suede fans will have the urge to persevere with this deeply unsatisfying music.