|independiente press note|
"The first time we met [again] in December 2003, he said he wanted to form a band," says Bernard. "Obviously, for years, I’d always wanted make the record." And so they began, the best British song-writing duo since Morrissey and Marr, working together once again, writing with no particular aim in sight. Only later did they realise they were really onto something, something they had left undone in 1994, when Bernard walked out of Suede ahead of the release of their second album, ‘Dog Man Star’.
Slowly, yet inexorably, ‘Here Come The Tears’ came to be a shared labour of love; the thing that would define 2005 for both Brett and Bernard. "The music is really, really inspiring," says Brett. "I don’t want to get dewy-eyed, but it’s so exciting to work with someone who cares so much about it. For years and years after Bernard left Suede it was me running the show, but now the stakes are raised. I feel like we are duelling with each other, in some kind of friendly competition. When we were at our best it was always like that, each trying to better each other."
From the outside ‘Here Comes The Tears’ certainly feels like a work high on confidence, and performed by people at the peak of their artistic powers. Brett’s voice is stunning as never before - the little break in ‘Two Creatures’, the exquisite and moving swoops of ‘Fallen Idol’ - while Bernard simply plays guitar like no-one else alive.
"When we first started Suede I wanted it to be like The Smiths, where the records were ethereal and complex and overdubbed, but the live show was just one big electric guitar ringing out," says Bernard. "I’ve not had either of those platforms for years."
Here he plays like a man on a mission to show us everything we’ve been missing. A number of songs mesmerise with the chiming, complex simplicity of Bernard’s guitars. At the album’s centre, the dark and troubled ‘Brave New Century’ features amazing arcs of guitar that alternately slice through the speakers and crash around your ears like so much falling masonry.
Elsewhere, on the wonderfully epic ‘Apollo 13’, the simple swaying waltz of the early verses is lifted into high orbit by the rocket trajectories of Bernard’s symphonies of guitar, which call to mind nothing so much as slow motion fireworks bursting elaborately overhead, complete with suitably awed oohs and aahs.
Largely, though, ‘Here Come The Tears’ is dominated by pop songs; brazen and beautiful pop songs, delivered in perfectly formed packages. Opening track and first single, ‘Refugees’ is swaggering, instant and majestic, and at 2’54" so brief you need to blast it again as soon as it’s over.
‘Imperfection’ is sweeping and bittersweet, its wide-open spaces seemingly created in the sonic equivalent of Cinemascope, yet appearing subtle, restrained and genuinely moving at the same time. Brett’s lyric deals, not with the usual politics of perfection, but how attraction lies in our difference from, rather than similarity to, an ideal of beauty.
Big and bursting with hope, ‘Two Creatures’ is one of many songs (‘Co-Star’, ‘The Ghost Of You’, ‘Fallen Idol’) that people could try and interpret as a commentary on the state of Brett and Bernard’s relationship. People would be wrong. ‘Two Creatures’ is in fact about escaping with your lover into an ‘On The Road’-style Kerouac fantasy. ‘The Ghost of You’ is - on one level at least - literally about when someone dies. ‘Co-Star’ is about thinking of your life as a film. While of ‘Fallen Idol’, Brett just says, "people assume far too much".
For Brett,much of ‘Here Come The Tears’ is about what’s going on around us. "I wanted to make an album that was angrier and more questioning than what I might have done before," he says. "There are lots of elements of 21st century life that really put me off, and I find distasteful. ‘Rufugees’ is about the media creation of a new would-be underclass, people who exist through the bottom of society, selling cigarettes on the corner. While underneath we all have the same hopes, needs, fears and sense of family."
This issue is picked up again in the sardonic ‘Brave New Century’, with it’s lines: "We sit and sit and choke on magazines / And worship shit celebrities" segueing into "Religion breathes like a disease / While people spit on refugees".
‘Here Come The Tears’ was produced by Bernard and largely recorded at home. For him making this record as he wanted to make it was a huge part of a long healing process. "When all that [being in and leaving Suede] happens to you when you’re 22/23, you don’t deal with it," he says. "I hated everyone and everything, and felt confused all the time. I couldn’t see through the things I wanted to do."
Now, however, Bernard has been able to intricately build songs according to the grand vision in his head, and the result is an astonishing wall of sound that at times feels like Spector producing the Spiders From Mars covering ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’, only bigger.
The other thing that Bernard didn’t bargain for is that, fantastic as it can be to define the essence of an idea into single piece of work (The Tears into ‘Here Come The Tears’), it’s a bit like decorating your house, and once you’ve done one room all nice, you realise how much more work there is to do on everything else. "One record was a good goal," he states, with the look of man who knows there’s plenty more where that came from.
Oh, and that big rock guitar blasting out? Yes, The Tears live are, half a dozen shows in, already a fearsome proposition. "Playing live is a really big motivation for me," says Bernard. "If there’s one thing I feel comfortable with is being on stage and playing a guitar."
"(Their split) resulted in a great break-up album with Dog Man Star, and now it sounds like it’s resulted in a great make-up album. The most exciting new band in Britain, twice? Now that would be a coup." 5/5 Independent.
Here they come indeed
The Tears are Brett Anderson (vocals), Bernard Butler (guitar), Nathan Fisher (bass), Makoto Sakamoto (drums) and Will Foster (keyboards).