For every cynical music fan (for there are many) wary of cynical cash-in reunions (for there have been many), let Bloodsports be the exception that jumps up on the table, flicks its hair back and looks you straight in the shoes: “See”, it tells you, “there’s actually no reason why a band that had five top ten albums, including three number ones, before fading away badly with a fiercely mediocre last album and then splitting up but staying in through the intervening years, can’t go back into the studio and recapture some of the splendour of the time between their second and third albums 18 years ago, and you know, with the right producer on board, come up with what is actually something pretty good indeed. So, yeah.”
To put my own Suede fandom into context, I’m not at the mad obsessive level, but I am at the level of someone who recorded The Drowners off the radio over and over again without bothering to change the cassette in between. I’m in the camp the firmly believes that Sci-Fi Lullabies, Suede’s epic double album of b-sides, is staggeringly good when you consider that it’s a collection of songs not quite considered by the band to be good enough for prime time. And I’m in the camp that definitely didn’t think much good could come of a reunion other than some gigs for the 30/40-something crowd (who don’t think, but actually know that music was much better in the 90s) to get excited about.
And now I’m in the group that has to admit they pulled it off in some style. It Starts and Ends With You has the energy and attack of early days Suede, with none of the smooth plinky-plonky humdrum of A New Morning or the throw everything in and hope something sticks of Head Music.