More than just a britpop fad as tagged by the media, Suede's second album "Dog man star" was an album of pure decadence, wrapped up in several layers of androgyny & glamour, the likes of which were sadly, and most likely will never be repeated.
What makes this album stand out so much more above others is in part thanks to Bernard Butler's majestic use of the guitar alongside the over building tension's between Brett Anderson and Bernard during the making of the album, which has in some ways helped to herald it's place as a cult album. An album that seemed doomed from the start, drenched in layers of drug abuse and heady decadence that's certainly made one hell of an album.
Those first jangling rifts and booming drums of "Introducing the band" set the scene for a glamorous apocalypse, part poetry and part musical masterpiece, it sets the darker tone of the album compared to their debut. Certainly a grander album, with heavy orchestral tones and more iconic imagery than you could shake a velvet draped stick at.
The rift between Bernard and Brett was infamously responsible for the birth of the album, the further Bernard distanced himself from the band the more the tension build up and led towards their grandest album ever (perhaps Richard needs to throw a hissyfit or two to make them reach the same climatic level for their newer material?).
The settings for the recording of the album also helped to shaped the albums iconic lyrical imagery, heavily influenced by Brett's drug misuse and the grand Victorian mansion they set up in (you could almost image yourself draped elegantly on a 4 post bed in a grand mansion whilst listening to it), these settings helped to shape the decadent, overblown sound of the album in a huge way.
It's almost like an glamorous apocalyptic meltdown, "We are the pigs" conjures images of an Orwellian nightmare draped in several layers of decadence, in comparison to the billowing, romantic and heady dreamlike sound of "The wild ones". The influences from David Bowie and Prince are obviously apparent with the layers of flamboyant elegance littered throughout the album.
The tensions between the band and Bernard with producer Ed Buller certainly brought this album to it's climactic, heady finale, eventually coming to a head when Bernard parted ways with the rest of the band. Whilst it's a shame that such a wonderfully grandiose and elegant album was the result of their rather grand fall out, it's certainly one of the most memorable albums of the era and one that we certainly won't see repeated again. So why not crack out the bolly, lock yourself away in a Victorian house, and listen on repeat..
Top image via Outside left.