Keeping the edge

Britpop band Suede has regrouped and is raring to go.

Britbop Band Suede 311 (photo credit: courtesy)
Britbop Band Suede 311
(photo credit: courtesy)
Suede’s combination of glam and romanticism made a strong impression on music lovers, beginning with their acclaimed selftitled 1993 debut. Vocalist Brett Anderson, originally with guitarist Bernard Butler, and after the first album with replacement Richard Oakes, proved to be potent songwriting teams along the lines of Morrissey and Johnny Marr from The Smiths.
But by mid-decade bands like Oasis and Blur had taken the wind out of their sails amid the British guitar rock explosion, and when the band split up in 2002, after a disappointing final album, A New Morning, it was with more of a whimper than a bang.
That’s why Suede’s surprise reformation and comeback last year has been so gratifying to the band and its fans – nobody expected it, and nobody thought it would be so good. Evidently, though, the band has some unfinished business.
According to Anderson, the regrouping was initially a one-off venture at London’s Royal Albert Hall as part of the 2010 Teenage Cancer Trust.
However, the chemistry among the erstwhile bandmates was so electric that they ended up performing at their biggest non-festival show ever in December at the 02 Arena, following that up with a European tour. Now this year, they’re back with a vengeance, rereleasing their five studio albums and went out on the festival circuit, including a headline slot at the Latitude festival and an appearance at Coachella.
“We had a vision of ‘Right, we’re just going to do this one amazing show and never do it again’ and have this beauty of the transience of the thing,” Anderson told The Independent earlier this month. “And then we got mired in reality and did a show that was amazing that we absolutely loved and couldn’t leave it alone.”
Partially responsible for the band’s decline due to a debilitating drug habit, the now healthy Anderson admitted that he and his bandmates felt like they had something to prove after years of wallowing in obscurity.
“We finished on quite a downturn,” he said. “If we’d have finished after [third album] Coming Up, I think the legend of Suede would have been much stronger. I think the whole process of reforming was about reminding people what we did well back in the day and possibly airbrushing over the moments that weren’t as good.”
“We kept it quite stripped down just to make it feel like being in a contemporary band,” said bassist Mat Osman who, along with drummer Simon Gilbert and keyboardist Neil Codling, round out the quintet. “We were really conscious that there’s a certain kind of comeback that involves loads of extra musicians, orchestras and samples, a show that you just go along to for the nostalgia and to hear something recreated exactly as it was.
Very quickly we decided to get it back to feeling like a five-men-in-the-room rock ’n’ roll show because it’s what we do best and also because it keeps the edge. It still feels edgy and possible that it will all fall apart at all times.”
All the possibilities will be there when Suede takes the stage on Friday night, July 1 at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds.