Having spent the last two years working on this, London quintet Suzerain are releasing their second album, produced by The Cure and Depeche Mode cohort Steve Lyon. Their debut arrived in 2011 and they have built their reputation with shows at the likes of Wireless and The Great Escape.
The title track that opens this record is little more than a brooding intro to the swaggering rhythm of 'Anytime', a song that never takes off in the way it threatens to. The electro-fuzz verses of 'Dark Dark' lead to a solid chorus, but the drawn-out and uneventful 'I Know You So Well' does nothing to justify a six-minute running time. Thankfully 'Good Day' recaptures some interest with its punk attitude, before 'Frenzy' shows that Suzerain can nail a great tune. A combination of screeching guitar work and thumping bass, it moves along at pace and has undeniable energy. Bass is also key to the intricate 'Always', intriguing if not mind-blowing, while 'Palm Of Her Hand' is a simple approach to electro-rock that works perfectly well. Yet just as it feels that momentum is building, '200' is an unnecessary interlude, before the by-numbers 'Black & White' and 'Hide Yourself' conclude matters in a surprisingly conservative way. When the leash is taken off, Suzerain are more than capable of raising interest, but too often they don't deliver on the potential or provide the hooks.
Suzerain on Facebook -
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.