It's been 11 years since Brett Anderson and friends released a Suede album and nearly 20 years -- yes, "Dog Man Star" came out in 1994 -- since the band was a major rock force. "Bloodsports" (Fontana) is a return to those heady days in the mid-'90s, when Suede's huge stadium-rock choruses and Anderson's New Romantic-influenced vocals took them to the top of the British charts, though, sadly, there's no reunion with original guitarist Bernard Butler.
"Snowblind" sounds like it could have come from the band's debut album, like Gene Loves Jezebel crossed with U2, angular, experimental rock verses welded to a sing-along chorus. "It Starts and Ends With You" is straightforward Britpop, catchy rock that's perfect for hopping up and down in huge crowds at a football match and waving the Union Jack.
"For the Strangers" will also have you waxing nostalgic for the "Cool Britannia" days, with Anderson approximating Morrissey-esque drama in his vocals over chiming Edge-like guitars.
With all that energy in the front half of "Bloodsports," the album does get bogged down toward the end in a series of similar ballads, though the massiveness of "Sometimes I Feel I'll Float Away" does show us where early Muse may have come from and why it is so good to have Suede back.
THE GRADE B+
BOTTOM LINE Like '90s Britpop never ended