Brett Anderson has left purple prose behind him, so why do SUEDE have a new album heavily influenced by Prince? Words: Peter Ross
6 ll“ -
THE THIN MAN STRETCHES OUT HIS CORDUROY- clad pipecleaner legs. takes a sip from coffee blacker than the inside of Satan‘s jockstrap and names the artist who has had the greatest impact on his new album.
‘I love Prince.~ he says. ‘His combination of pop and art is genius. He's like llockney or (‘amus or something like that. (‘amus uses three words and it perfectly describes a situa— tion. Prince uses three notes. It’s my ambition to cut the number of notes I use down to one.‘
His name is Brett and he is funky. Or. rather. he wants you to think he is. Brett Anderson. front- man with Suede. has been talking a good fight since 1992. when his hand first dissolved into the music scene’s bloodstream in an ecstasy ofjunk shop clothes and homoerotic imagery. He‘s in Glasgow today to talk up his new material and is pushing the line that it has emerged from a period during which all kinds of dance music. especially the funk 'n' grind of His Royal Purpleness. has never been off the studio hi-fi.
That may be true. but Haul Music is still. above all. a Suede record. It‘s a little more groovy and a lot less melodramatic. but it's still recognisably the work of a band who have spent the best part of the decade chronicling the narcotic peaks and emotional valleys of a life lived high in the city. Just check out those titles: 'She‘s In Fashion” (the next single). “He's (ione'. ‘Savoir l-‘aire‘. Pure Suede.
'But the new album is a lot simpler and
more honest than our earlier stuff: it r; just reacts with my gut.‘ argues ' Anderson. He's looking good.
Stubble shades his 4
cheekhones. his wiry long-distance runner frame marooned within a billowing. black parka. ‘lt‘s ironic that it's called Head Music because it's not theoretical. I don‘t have to think about it before I enjoy it.
‘I haven‘t got a lot of time for our first couple of albums. to be honest. I find it's the sort of music you appre- ciate rather than like. Lots of Dog Man Star I can’t even listen to.‘
It‘s understandable that Suede are keen to put clear blue water between where they are now and their earlier incar— nation. lt's five years since original guitarist Bernard
'I think the public are seeing a depth to us, rather than an image of some guy with a floppy fringe spanking his arse.’ Brett Anderson
Butler quit the band on extremely bad terms. leaving behind two astonishing albums of glam indie and baroque psychedelia. Rather than falling apart. as many predicted they would. Suede have added two new members (guitarist Richard ()akes and keyboard player .\'eil Codling) and are coming back strong and confident. Recent single ‘lilectricity" entered the charts at number five. Anderson feels that the public now perceiye Suede far differently than they did at the start.
‘I think they’re seeing a depth to us. rather than an image of some guy with a floppy fringe spanking his arse.’ he says. ‘The cartoon that you have to draw of hands when they first come on the scene gradually becomes filled in with more features. We're becoming a photograph rather than a cartoon now.
‘I certainly don‘t feel the need to hide behind a carica- ture of myself any longer. My writing isn't particularly car- icatured now. For the first time. I feel a natural inclina— tion to write about my own thoughts rather than using
other people as metaphors for my life. It‘s self-analyt— ical and quite plain. not clouded with frilly language or anything like that. It‘s like a square or a triangle — just Ilwrv.‘ This tendency toward musical and lyrical ‘ minimalism seems set to continue for a few 2 years yet. Suede have already written most \ of the mar! album in just these terms.
‘lt's going to be called (z'ruﬁltif states Anderson. flatly. ‘I want to get into grooves and repeat the same . phrase ov er and over again. Have a sin- ister. dark. brutal edge to it. It‘s going to be a lot quicker and simpler and a lot more stupid than this one. It's going to be dumb-dumb . . . like a bullet.‘
Simple when you know how.
Head Music is released on Nude on Mon 3 May.