Skip to main content

Britpop's greatest guitarist Bernard Butler shines anew with People Move On box set

Former Suede guitar wrangler Bernard Butler reinvents his own past with expanded version of debut solo album

Bernard Butler: People Move On cover art
(Image: © Demon Music Group)

Bernard Butler is one of the great unsung heroes in British rock. A magnificent guitarist and an ingenious producer, his influence made the first two Suede albums magnificently overblown, prog-tinged, cinematic masterpieces that the band never topped after his departure in 1994. His project with David McAlmont reinvented soul for the Britpop generation. 

And although his solo debut was well received on its release in 1998, it’s tucked into the back of most people’s memories, while the more attention-seeking characters of the era demand the attention of TV’s talking heads. Now he’s remastered the original, an ambitious collection of bluesy indie-rock anthems characterised by his histrionic guitar work. 

But a mere spruce-up job would never have been enough for Butler, and the real star of this box set is disc two, on which he has re-recorded the vocals to the entire album. The first time around, they were the weakest part – faded, whispered, lacking in the confidence he clearly had in his musicianship (he played every instrument bar the drums on the record). 

Now, richer for its maturity, his voice brings a whole new dimension to old favourites such as the gospel-tinged Stay, giving it a fresh poignance as we’re faced with the passage of time. A disc of B-sides gets the same treatment, while a fourth is packed with demos and live recordings. It all adds up to a package that is one step on from your usual rerelease.

Emma has been writing about music for 25 years, and is a regular contributor to Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog and Louder. During that time her words have also appeared in publications including Kerrang!, Melody Maker, Select, The Blues Magazine and many more. She is also a professional pedant and grammar nerd and has worked as a copy editor on everything from film titles through to high-end property magazines. In her spare time, when not at gigs, you’ll find her at her local stables hanging out with a bunch of extremely characterful horses.