Although the creation of The Tears seemed to excite the potential of a Brett Anderson/Bernard Butler reconciliation it became apparent that them talking to each other was more exciting than their new band’s music. Whatever magic they dug up with their musical collaboration in Suede, it was certainly gone by the formation of The Tears. You can hear them getting bored with each other before daylight. It’s not that the Tears were bad, they were pretty good, considering their fighting but it’s like an episode of Bewitched where Darren says to Elizabeth, “ok darling I want you to promise me that you won’t use any magic”.
They sounded like they were always going to sound, when they’re good it’s a competition between Anderson’s “opiated fop” and Butler’s brooding guitar bends with neither giving way to the other, you can hear the competition in the mix. Or neither shines, where’s the light pouring out in appreciation of each other’s brilliant ideas, it’s a compromise with no winners.
The rhythm section are inconsequential, I couldn’t find a bass player credit anywhere except Discogs (CD locked away at In Deep Penzance) although it’s allegedly Nathan Fisher with Will Foster on keyboards and with Makoto Sakamoto, Butler’s trustee drummer from McAlmont and Butler – it seems that the reliable session guys get the gig. Obviously part of the deal in working together, Butler makes the practical musical decisions. Anderson the lyrical ones. You get the feeling that this was a perfunctory relationship by two guys that couldn’t be bothered despising each other anymore – their talents on autopilot, did any of these songs really blow each other away? As if music is about this kind of relationship, you can imagime them going home “How’s it going with Bernard?”, “Yeah it’s fine”. “How’s it going with Brett”, “Yeah it’s fine”. When in reality them patching it up wasn’t supposed to be the goal or the focus. The point was to put the chemistry back together, Morrissey falling back in love with Marr and vice versa but it just didn’t happen.
Apart from the terrible English video here, I like Refugees, the problem is that it should have been the worst song on the record and not the best. Refugees reached No.9 and the album No.15 a follow up single, Lovers reached No.24 in their UK stronghold. Soon after Butler announced he was more interested in producing than all this nonsense of live performance, Brett released his first solo album, they cancelled a tour and the label dropped them.
Ironically the other memorable song on the album is the last track – A Love As Strong as Death.