Returning to rock after a prolonged flirtation with subdued introspection, Brett Anderson doesn’t quite indulge in a full-throttle hip shake on 2011’s Black Rainbows, but he’s making the loudest noise he has since reuniting with Bernard Butler for the Tears. Butler isn’t present for Black Rainbows -- he skipped out on the 2011 Suede reunion as well -- and also absent is a certain sense of grandeur that came with the Anderson/Butler collaborations; this album isn’t in CinemaScope, it’s been scaled down to fit your television. Anderson remains relatively ruminative; there’s a softness to his attack and a deliberateness to his tempos, yet the added volume and accompanying color make a considerable difference in liveliness and listenability. He doesn’t often kick into a stomp the way he does on “Thin Men Dancing,” nor does Black Rainbows surge confidently forward the way its opener “Unsung” suggests, yet Anderson is not shy about incorporating Suede’s thick sheets of guitar and gently floating ballads, he’s not trying to distinguish his work outside of the band and the result is a strong, confident record that’s his best solo effort to date.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine