Getting a Big Head

The London Suede leaves behind its heart for Head Music

"Ah, the universal argument," he sighs, sounding as if he answers this question five times before his morning tea. "I think that on Head Music the style was only realized at the very end when we were mixing it. You can talk and talk about it till you're blue in the face, but we've always managed to maintain the integrity of the pure song underneath. Once the songs are written, you can start forming them in the shape, putting flesh on the bones."

But like some alien, boneless organism, Head Music might well dissolve completely without its studio-designed flesh. Suede seems to be getting further from the thing that makes a song stick. "Well, we wanted to change the way we work," Oakes continues. "But it wasn't a deliberate thing. It was totally natural. We don't just sit around a table with a stylist and the record company and say, 'Where are we gonna go now?'"

Back in black: The London Suede is, from left, Brett Anderson, Simon Gilbert, Mat Osman, Richard Oakes, and Neil Codling.
Back in black: The London Suede is, from left, Brett Anderson, Simon Gilbert, Mat Osman, Richard Oakes, and Neil Codling.
The Butler didn't do it: The London Suede has been playing catch-up since guitarist Bernard Butler (third from left) quit the group in 1994 during the recording of the band's second album, Dog Man Star.
The Butler didn't do it: The London Suede has been playing catch-up since guitarist Bernard Butler (third from left) quit the group in 1994 during the recording of the band's second album, Dog Man Star.

Without Butler, that might not be very far.

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