This summer, Suede bassist Mat Osman playfully tweeted a photo taken during the Saddleworth Moor fire of a gas-masked woman carrying shopping bags, the band’s logo writ large above. Sadly, their eighth album confirms how, nowadays, it’s indeed very hard to tell where Suede ends and parody begins: The Blue Hour has songs called Wastelands and Flytipping while Brett Anderson inevitably still plays “under vermilion skies” on Cold Hands, and gets “lost in the pale rain” on Tides. This time, too, he’s added a conceptual angle: the record supposedly rejects romantic visions of the countryside, instead exposing its “ugliness and cruelty”.

Those familiar with the countryside might suggest this is more patronising cultural tourism than news. More likely, though, they’ll be distracted by Suede’s pompous theatrics: be they Chalk Circles’ laughably portentous Wicker Man chants, Beyond The Outskirts’ heavy-metal riffage, or Roadkill’s mind-bogglingly hackneyed description of a dead bird – “Brittle bones like snapped twigs” – which would make Adrian Mole blush. Opener As One, too, throws in a choir, an orchestra, prog rock riffs, barking dogs and (probably) an entire kitchen. It thinks it’s Kate Bush’s Hounds Of Love, but really The Blue Hour’s no more compelling than a provincial pantomime script.

Review: Suede - The Blue Hour

Written by Wyndham Wallace. Released on Warner Music.

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