Thursday, 16 October 2014

The Tears - Here Come The Tears (2005)

Almost regardless of quality of music, I usually experience varying degrees of unease with anything veering too close to nostalgia, specifically anything which sounds a little too much like it's pretending that a day spent twiddling around with state of the art analogue sound synthesisers will conclude with a well deserved pint of Double Diamond and the latest hilarious episode of Mind Your Language on a brand new Grundig colour telly; but then again I have a lot of time for Stereolab who are in essence the krautrock Showaddywaddy, I always preferred the Dukes of Stratosphear to XTC, and so far as I'm concerned Back In Denim is probably one of the greatest debut albums ever recorded.

Accordingly whilst I was very much a fan of Suede at the time, and even to the point of seeing them live more than once, I always had reservations, at least regarding the level of acclaim squirted in their direction. Sure they were good, but I couldn't help wonder whether there might be a subtext to the praise as a nation of geezers in skinny jeans breathed a collective Hurricane Andrew scale sigh of relief to have the guitars and drums and some bloke pretending to be David Bowie back after the wilderness years of homosexual synthesisers and that weird thumpa thumpa rappers' housey music or whatever the fuck that was supposed to be. It was a bit like Roxy Music crossed with the Smiths but without having to hold your nose while Morrissey reads out yet another list of everything which has ever failed to meet up to his exacting standards. Moreover, whilst there were some great songs, and Bernard Butler is clearly a talent, he tends to write arrangements in the sense of Burt Bacharach rather than tunes in the sense of Steve Jones serving up big chunky chords and then burping the word bollocks in your face. Subtract the trimmings and Butler is - at worst - some bloke endlessly noodling away in a guitar shop, which is probably why Coming Up was always my favourite Suede album.

I found this one in a cardboard box outside someone's house in Landells Road in East Dulwich. There were a few books, odds and ends, and a stack of compact discs most of which were decent. Either someone had moved, or been forcibly moved out as a relationship imploded, which if true would be appropriate given Brett Anderson's preferred subject matter - the poetry of the depressing details, unrequited love and discarded rubber Johnnies gathering dust under the bed. As kitchen sink drama, it seems appropriate that the music to which he scores his tales of almost-woe should carry a faint whiff of 1974 or thereabouts, the years during which it had become obvious that there was no bright future ahead, yet with mainstream culture still grinning away in fat day-glo lettering as though there might be; and if that's too wanky a way of putting it, let's just settle for stating that the music really does its job, nostalgic or otherwise.

Having spewn forth from the Butler spigot, Here Come The Tears takes a few plays to do its job. As ever he noodles so much that it's difficult to really latch onto what he's doing until you've given it a few spins, but it's worth it when you get there, and his lack of immediacy should not be confused with predictability. Anderson as ever pushes the lyrical details so far that they border on parody, or would do were it not for the delivery which dares you to laugh at such small, inevitable horrors as the bin bags in which the clothes of a dead partner are left out for collection by the Salvation Army. It's inevitably not so immediate as Coming Up, but still at least as good as anything these two did together as Suede.

So there you have it.

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