The London Suede, Bloodsports
Although the Brits are fond of lionizing new and hip young bands, the reverence they have for veteran acts is just as impressive. Take The London Suede, Bowie fanatics from the Brit-pop era who reunited in 2010 to much fanfare and even bigger crowds at their comeback concerts. Such a warm welcome is justified by the existence of Bloodsports, the band’s first record since 2002’s A New Morning. Frontman Brett Anderson & Co. sound rejuvenated and relaxed throughout the cohesive album. Highlights include the glammy guitar scorcher “Snowblind,” the swooning Morrissey-esque pop of “It Starts and Ends With You” and “Sabotage,” and an anguished string-graced ballad called “What Are You Not Telling Me?” Best of all, Bloodsports lacks the grandiose tone that dragged down much of the band’s recent work.
Depeche Mode, Delta Machine
Likewise, the dusky Delta Machine, eschews the bloated songwriting of Depeche Mode’s worst 2000s output. Better yet, it exhibits the creative spark and pop-leaning structures that made 2009’s Sounds of the Universe such a pleasant surprise. Liquid synth-pop full of stomping beats (“Soothe My Soul,” “Alone”) and twitching noise (“Welcome to My World,” “Broken”) alternates with more delicate moments, such as Martin Gore’s minimal electro lullaby “The Child Inside.” Most of all, Delta Machine is a showcase for vocalist Dave Gahan’s magnetic charisma—whether he’s wailing and spitting lyrics over violent flashes of noise on “Angel” or panting like a hot-and-bothered singer at a blues bar on Mars on “Slow.” Shadowy and futuristic, Delta Machine is mature without being boring.