Suede: Night Thoughts | Virgin Media

Suede: Night Thoughtsby Matthew Horton | Rating: ★★★★



On their seventh album – and second since their fondly received return to the studio with 2013's Bloodsports – Suede go cinematic. There's a film to accompany the album, but its sweeping themes and aural scope are visual enough by themselves.

Which is no great surprise, really. Brett Anderson has always drawn lyrical pictures, usually involving gutters, neon skies, all that, but on Night Thoughts he's taking in the full breadth of life, love and all the beautiful despair in between. It makes for an opulent record, packed with songs that will never be happy with a lone guitar if they can cram a full orchestra in there.

The strings are key to Night Thoughts' power, making a fanfare of opener When You Are Young (later reprised, elegiacally, as When You Were Young as the album completes a life well spent) and waving it all away on histrionic but affecting closer The Fur And The Feathers. Orchestras suit this mature, weather-beaten Suede.

Suede find their old swagger when they plug the electrics in

There are pitfalls in all this strung-out splendour, with one or two extraneous ballads (Tightrope, Pale Snow) dragging the flow, but Suede find their old swagger when they plug the electrics in. Outsiders marries some quintessential Anderson poetry ("There's a place selling bouquets of sellophane/That's where they meet in this desolate place") with a dynamic, taut jangle, while Like Kids ("The silent mannequins/The crumpled mothers ") has a real lick about its glam stomp.

Top of the pile is single No Tomorrow, with a dizzying chorus destined for live favourite status and a terrific, sharp riff that suggests they've as much future as they want. Whatever the grand concept here, that's the real story.