Pitchfork.com give Slow Attack a very respectable 7 out of 10 in this review. Some nice comments also…
Over in some alternate universe, Suede never fumbled, flamed out, and fizzled. Guitarist Bernard Butler never embarked on a lackluster solo career, singer Brett Anderson wasn’t compelled to follow suit, and neither saw the need to reconvene as the inconsequential Tears. While we’re at it, Suede never would have had that awkward and lame “London” affixed to their name in the U.S., either (thanks, anonymous coffeehouse singer!).
Back in the real world, however, Suede doesn’t carry nearly as much cachet as Britpop mainstays Oasis, Blur, or even Pulp, and in turn Brett Anderson’s solo career hasn’t been afforded nearly as much attention as, say, Albarn’s post-Blur experiments. Then again, Anderson hasn’t made a particularly strong case for himself as a solo act, either, debuting with 2007’s prematurely autumnal self-titled debut and continuing with the next year’s spare, dour Wilderness, which found him wandering the same. Sure, they were both clearly by the Suede guy, but at the same time, they were different. Or at least, Anderson was.
Slow Attack, Anderson’s third solo album, doesn’t mark a return to Suede territory, either, but it does find Anderson increasingly confident and comfortable as a solo artist, especially in this particularly morose mode. Featuring Leo Abrahams as Anderson’s primary collaborator and (reportedly) Talk Talk as an inspiration, Anderson finds in Mark Hollis’ ineffable melancholia the right template for his own gloomy but oddly warm compositions. The Talk Talk influence manifests itself mainly in Anderson’s embrace of woodwinds and droning strings, but also in the way Anderson feels little pressure to reach the cheap seats, taking some risk in leaving melodies intriguingly unresolved, and the arrangements more open-ended.
“The Hunted” and “Summer”, for example, could easily have been glammed up into familiar grand rock ballads, but Anderson keeps things restrained, trading bombast for patient and grace. Elsewhere Anderson alludes to traditional folk with songs such as “Wheatfields” and Frozen Roads” without resorting to outright aping his influences (which Suede shamelessly had no problem doing). “Pretty Widows” and “Ashes of Us” quietly expand on the piano-based palette of “Wilderness” as Anderson embraces darkness and grey skies with none of the larger-than-life rock star lifer narcissism that marked his previous band.
Of course, some, especially those looking for a little of the old swagger, would point to those qualities as signs of Anderson’s failure, and indeed compared to Suede’s ace catalog some of these songs may come off unduly po-faced in their pastoral drift. But if his first two solo albums came across self-conscious refutations of his roots, Anderson was at least brave enough to stick to his guns. Slow Attack doesn’t always make sense in the context of Suede, but as far as solo Anderson goes, this album marks a logical next step in his transformation. Slow and steady, it’s a promising sign of progress.
— Joshua Klein, January 4, 2010