Here Come the Tears
n 1993, a band calling themselves Suede released their first album to the applause of critics and fans alike. With a darker tone than fellow chart toppers Blur, many romanticists following the routes of The Smiths and The Cure found a resolve in Suede: the brainchild of vocalist Brett Anderson and lead guitarist Bernard Butler. Drawing comparisons to that of Morrissey and Marr (of The Smiths), Anderson and Butler launched a definitive career with the band that would become one of the most influential of the 90s. Sadly, Butler left Suede after the first two albums, Suede and Dog Man Star. Suede released three albums post-Butler, with Anderson at the wheel, and while they were all acceptably well done, the dark and mysterious aroma was gone.
So when it was announced in 2004 that Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler would be reuniting to form a new project called The Tears, Suede fans rejoiced at a fantasy come true. Their first show on December 14th in Oxford at the Zodiac and other early shows indicated that their sound reflected the old Suede—with Butler's slick riffs and Anderson's unique and compelling, yet sometimes off-key (it adds to the flavor) vocals backed by Makoto Sakamoto's drumming and Nathan Fisher's bass, both of which were locked in tight form.
The album kicks off with The Tears' first single, "Refugees." "You are the dust and I am the rain," Anderson kicks off the new album with glee, amid stellar production. A perfect single, which doesn’t exactly reflect the dark edge of Dog Man Star but still doesn’t reach the strange sound of later Suede, it fits perfectly in the middle with a sound that will surely earn some casual fans and hardcore fans alike. Similarly, "Autograph" is one of the strongest tracks on the album. The chorus starts, "And if we don't have a future, if our lives split like shattered bits of glass / And if we don't have a future, just leave your autograph." The lyrics are simply put and not drawn out, although that was never Suede's strong point. Anderson and Butler's primary talent were carving out the actual songs into bliss and enjoyment.
"Co-Star" stands alone on the album as the only track lacking passion, and it could be due to its horrible production quality, as the song in live form is exceptional. The style of drumming in this song, as it may be a drum machine, ruins this one. "The Ghost Of You" is a typical ballad, displaying the heights The Tears can climb, while "Imperfection" is a great song, barring lyrical flaws such as, "we stick together like chewing gum" or "you taste like orange chocolate, you always put your hands in my pockets," which tend to be rather embarrassing. But it may just be "Beautiful Pain" that ends up being the strongest song on the album, just for its engaging chorus, nice-enough lyrics, and strong production.
The album ends with two ballads: "Apollo 13" and "Love As Strong As Death." Both are fantastic, with "Apollo 13" taking the cake as the most emotional, and consequently the strongest, tracks on the album. It’s obvious that Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler have not lost a bit of the touch that made them famous in the early 1990s—this debut will surely prove to be one of the most consistent albums of the year. Follow The Tears to the unknown, and you'll be very satisfied with the results.
Reviewed by: Mike Mineo
Reviewed on: 2005-08-22