Follow Us on Twitter

Brett Anderson - Brett Anderson

Brett Anderson

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

FORMER Suede frontman Brett Anderson described his eponymous debut solo album as something he’s very proud of. It’s also a very personal record.

“In the past I’ve hidden behind characterization and vignettes,” he explains. “But I’ve not done that here. Essentially, I have taken a knife to myself and am showing the world my insides. The songs are a comment on how I really feel, whether it be the death of my dad, my hatred of consumerism or just the loneliness of life.”

Needless to say, it’s a melancholy listen if you really consider what Anderson has to say. The singer exposes a cruel world that’s brimming with sadness. Yet fortunately he doesn’t drag you all the way down with him thanks to some lush orchestration that draws on angular acoustics and supple strings.

Tracks like former single and album opener Love Is Dead are rife with lyrics that expose a disillusion with relationships, yet they’re considerably enlivened by the music surrounding them.

Anderson says of the track: “Love Is Dead is one of those rare songs that you manage to write every 10 years that explains how you feel in exactly the right way. The last time that happened was with Trash 10 years ago. It seems right that it should happen now again.”

It’s a terrific recording that seduces with its strings, and heartbreaks with melancholy lyrics such as “nothing ever goes right, nothing really flows in my life, no one really cares if no one ever shares my bed”.

Second track One Lazy Morning begins with a similarly downbeat piano sample, before more of the strings kick in to give enchanting beauty to a track about religion. It should be utterly depressing, yet somehow it’s not.

Dust And Rain then arrives like a wake-up call to Suede fans; its angular guitars providing a thrilling accompaniment to the stark chorus that preaches “I am the dust, you are the rain, I am the needle and you are the vein.” Who else could write such telling lines as “your love’s like an overdose, with your hands wrapped around my throat… using sex like an antidoe to the pain.” It’s stark stuff but a firm album highlight.

The guitars remain on Intimacy, albeit with some more subtle beats to accompany them, before the strings return to lend To The Winter a cinematic sweep. It’s more downbeat stuff about longing and being unable to reach someone, but it’s saved by another stirring chorus that’s passionately, almost achingly delivered.

Needless to say, anyone in need of music that cheers them up had best steer clear of Brett Anderson – but for long-term devotees and those who like their songs to have meaning, there’s plenty to take away. Anderson’s songs may reflect some personal feelings, but there’s plenty to relate to in much of what they have to say.

Further highlights include the smouldering beauty of Scorpio Rising, the emotional sweep of Infinite Kiss and the heartbreaking honesty of Song For My Father, a passionately delivered window into Anderson’s heart that should move all but the hardest heart.

It won’t put too many smiles on your face, but there’s no denying the power of Anderson’s songwriting, or his ability to captivate with some wonderful orchestration. For those reasons, Brett Anderson comes highly recommended.

Download picks: Love Is Dead, Dust And Rain, Intimacy, Scorpio Rising, The Infinite Kiss, Song For My Father

Track listing:

  1. Love Is Dead
  2. One Lazy Morning
  3. Dust And Rain
  4. Intimacy
  5. To The Winter
  6. Scorpio Rising
  7. Infinite Kiss
  8. Colour Of The Night
  9. More We Possess The Less We Own Of Ourselves
  10. Ebony
  11. Song For My Father