Over the last two decades and change, the American footprint of the band known in its native UK as Suede has lagged so far behind its British stardom that it can’t even retain its name on US soil. Thus, every Suede album is a return to the spotlight, every London Suede album an introduction. But “Night Thoughts” doesn’t bother distilling Suede’s sympathetic fatalism into an easy invitation like its scene-setting debut (or even 2013’s reunion album, “Bloodsports“). “When You Are Young,” “Pale Snow,” and “Learning to Be” sound transitional even at full length, struggling for traction and momentum. “I Don’t Know How to Reach You” is grand and gloriously dramatic, propulsive, and vaguely off in the best Suede tradition, guitarist Richard Oakes pinging in sad ecstasy in tandem with singer Brett Anderson’s preening, come-hither mope. But most of the high points – the watery, morose “Tightrope,” unity-minded “Like Kids,” and chargingly moody “When You Were Young” – fall just short. They’re everything Suede songs should be, only slightly less.
ESSENTIAL “I Don’t Know How to Reach You“Marc Hirsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.