Suede: The Blue Hour review – Orchestral manoeuvres with a spark
The Blue Hour
If you’re on the lookout for low-key, lo-fi music, then steer clear of The Blue Hour – Suede take their cinematic songs and put them through a symphonic wringer.
The added ritz – and the putting-on of it – is provided by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, no less, and to say the arrangements (mostly overseen by the band’s keyboard player, Neil Codling) bolster already secure songs is an understatement.
It is rare that a band with such an inflexible connection with a particular music movement (Britpop, however much Suede distance themselves from it) can extract themselves from it after many years to forge new and fresh lines.
From their regrouping in 2010, that’s precisely what Suede have achieved though invigorating albums such as Bloodsports (2013) and Night Thoughts (2016). Joining those two latterday triumphs is The Blue Hour, which is energised and influenced not just by previous work but by lead singer/lyricist Brett Anderson’s development as a descriptive songwriter.
Weaving pro and con narratives about rural living and family/parental responsibilities, self-assured songs such as Wastelands, Life Is Golden, Beyond the Outskirts and Flytipping (and the rest) make bravura, sometimes rowdy statements.