ALBUM BLAST FIRST!, PLAYGROUND RELEASE:
OCTOBER 28, 2002 REVIEW: NOVEMBER 19, 2002
never broke up”, Alan Vega insisted when I interviewed him in early
1998. At the time, Blast First’s reissue of their eponymous debut
album had finally given it the exposure it had always deserved. Around
the same time the duo played their first live shows for ages, but Vega
was adamant in his opinion that Suicide had never really ceased operations.
His feeling was that the band was almost a greater entity, sometimes forcing
him and other half Martin Rev to continue operations.
2002. They haven’t made an album in ten years, and it’s been
long since they were starving in the streets of New York, slowly finding
their sound through a couple of different line-ups. But however unlikely
it is, Vega and Rev still sound like they’re putting their lives
at stake for Suicide. “American Supreme” is shockingly good,
way more vibrant and sharp than it should be able to be. A collision of
meltdown synths, electronic funk and the street punk paranoia that’s
never really left them, it’s an overwhelming listen.
That’s not saying it’s flawless. I’ll be the first to
admit that the production is slightly thin and tinny, and there are some
element here that feel slightly out of touch. I could especially have
done without the slight house touches that show up in a couple of places.
But the beauty of Suicide is that none of this has any impact on their
brilliance. A band this desperate, this full of crawling, twitching black
life don’t need perfection. Their flaws only strengthen them, the
sum is a million times larger than the parts.
And although he’s now in his mid-50:s, Alan Vega still hollers like
no one else, still sounding like an Elvis Presley-possessed crooner back
from the dead. And “American Supreme” is his world captured
in a kaleidoscope, taking in everything that’s brilliant and sick,
awesome and disgusting about American culture of today.