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The Tears - Why fans won't be crying about the return of Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler


Story: Jack Foley

SO… BRETT Anderson and Bernard Butler back together. Who’d have thunk it?

Well, Bernard for one apparently. "I always knew sooner or later it would happen," he says.

And Brett too, for his part, seemed in the end to almost hasten the demise of Suede so that he might meet up with Bernard and pop the question no one else had ever dared form in their heads for the past 10 years.

"The first time we met [again] in December 2003, he said he wanted to form a band," says Bernard. "Obviously, for years, I’d always wanted to make the record."

And so they began, working together once again, writing with no particular aim in sight.

Only later did they realise they were really onto something, something they had left undone in 1994, when Bernard walked out of Suede ahead of the release of their second album, Dog Man Star.

Slowly, yet inexorably, Here Come The Tears came to be a shared labour of love; the thing that would define the year for both Brett and Bernard.

"The music is really, really inspiring," says Brett. "I don’t want to get dewy-eyed, but it’s so exciting to work with someone who cares so much about it.

"For years and years after Bernard left Suede it was me running the show, but now the stakes are raised. I feel like we are duelling with each other, in some kind of friendly competition.

"When we were at our best it was always like that, each trying to better each other."

Continues Bernard: "When we first started Suede I wanted it to be like The Smiths, where the records were ethereal and complex and overdubbed, but the live show was just one big electric guitar ringing out. I’ve not had either of those platforms for years."

On Here Come The Tears he plays like a man on a mission to show us everything we’ve been missing.

Hence, fans should look out for tracks such as Brave New Century, which features amazing arcs of guitar that alternately slice through the speakers and crash around your ears like so much falling masonry.

Largely, though, Here Come The Tears is dominated by pop songs; with opening track and first single, Refugees emerging as a swaggering, instant and majestic classic that makes it sound as though Suede have never been away.

Yet for Brett, much of the album has been inspired by what’s going on around us.

"I wanted to make an album that was angrier and more questioning than what I might have done before," he maintains.

"There are lots of elements of 21st Century life that really put me off, and I find distasteful.

"Rufugees is about the media creation of a new would-be underclass, people who exist through the bottom of society, selling cigarettes on the corner. While underneath we all have the same hopes, needs, fears and sense of family."

This issue is picked up again in the sardonic Brave New Century, with its lines: "We sit and sit and choke on magazines / And worship shit celebrities" segueing into "Religion breathes like a disease / While people spit on refugees".

Here Come The Tears was produced by Bernard and largely recorded at home.

For him, making this record as he wanted to make it was a huge part of a long healing process.

"When all that [being in and leaving Suede] happens to you when you’re 22/23, you don’t deal with it," he says. "I hated everyone and everything, and felt confused all the time. I couldn’t see through the things I wanted to do."

Now, however, Bernard has been able to intricately build songs according to the grand vision in his head.

The other thing that Bernard didn’t bargain for is that, like decorating your house, once you’ve done one room, you realise how much more work there is to do on everything else.

"One record was a good goal," he states, with the look of man who knows there’s plenty more where that came from.

The Tears are Brett Anderson (vocals), Bernard Butler (guitar), Nathan Fisher (bass), Makoto Sakamoto (drums) and Will Foster (keyboards).

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