A couple of new reviews of Black Rainbows below. Don’t forget the new album is out on the 26th September!
Brett Anderson : Black Rainbows (BA Songs)
16 September 2011
By Ed Miller
Mention a Brett Anderson solo work to many a Suede fan and there’s often a shrug of indifference or grimace of disapproval. With three of his own albums behind him, each increasingly sparse and introspective, Anderson’s priority has hardly been to win back those who wanted little more than foot-stomping, mic-wiggling duplicates of Suede classics.
Cathartic and in many ways captivating as some of his solo work has been to date, the announcement that this fourth album was to see a return to a rockier, more energetic sound was greeted with much enthusiasm, especially off the back of the universally-acclaimed Suede reunion gigs.
By and large, Black Rainbows is all it promised to be. It’s not the noisy, in-yer-face glam rampage that might have been envisaged by promises of Anderson’s “back to basics” approach. Instead there remains a reliance on songs loosely described as ballads, which is no bad thing given Anderson’s emotive voice and the fact that many of the tracks here are of a quality that calls to mind Suede’s early album tracks and b-sides.
Opener Unsung is a case in point, arguably the best thing Anderson has written in a decade, an arresting soaring epic that calls to mind the foremost of Suede’s slower numbers such as The 2 Of Us. Lead single Brittle Heart, a confident return to form, sees the singer back to using the kind of lyrical imagery he was feted and lampooned for in equal measure, with ashtray eyes, carpet burns and antiseptic skies to the fore.
Crash About To Happen has a late Eighties feel about it that seems curiously at odds as the album’s mid-section settles into a steady pace with I Count The Times, The Exiles and the lush, beautiful This Must Be Where It Ends, all of them driven by a dark, audacious undercurrent. Actors will be a candidate for the next single, the cut and thrust of its chorus the rockiest number on Black Rainbows by far. In The House Of Numbers, with its Echo & The Bunnymen-esque resonance, rounds off a run of eight stellar songs that in an ideal world would propel this album into plenty of end-year lists.
Thin Men Dancing ups the guitar ante again and album closer, the slow-burning Possession, is typical of Anderson’s previous solo output. If there’s a criticism, it is that these two final tracks don’t maintain the standard set by the rest of the album, but it’s a moot point really.
Black Rainbows is constantly ambitious, in places louder and rockier, and consistently enchanting. Destined, no doubt, to be eclipsed by new Suede material, it nevertheless stands by itself as one of the year’s more striking albums – and proves that at nearly 44 years of age, Anderson still has more to say than many aspiring songwriters half his age.
Album: Brett Anderson, Black Rainbows (EMI)
Reviewed by Andy Gill
3 out of 5 stars
Recorded in January 2010, just a few months after the release of Slow Attack, this presages last year’s well-received Suede reformation both temporally and stylistically, Brett Anderson deliberately eschewing its predecessor’s intriguing orchestrations in favour of something more “restless, noisy and dynamic””, created from standard rock instrumentation.
Its brief gestation (recorded in just three days) is both Black Rainbows’ trump card and its Achilles heel: while imparting a palpable sense of immediacy to the performances, there are some tracks that could do with more work. But it’s a decent enough effort, Anderson relishing the return to gutter glamour and devotion, while his band shifts nimbly from skeletal and steely to driving and anthemic.
DOWNLOAD THIS: Unsung; Brittle Heart; Possession