Opening a fresh chapter in the ever-evolving story of the band.
Tom Dibb
14:40 16th September 2022

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Suede have been a musical tour de force for upwards of 30 years now. From the raw fire of their sexually charged debut single, ‘The Drowners’ all the way to the darkness of 2018’s ‘The Blue Hour’, Suede are an outfit that have been consistently changing and evolving, pushing their musical style as much as they can. 

That’s all changed with their latest offering, the back-to-basics punk rock stylings of Autofiction.  With the group taking time to look back and examine the band from the very start, a sense of introspection permeates what may be their best album since 1994’s ‘Dog Man Star.’

Opening up Autofiction is the lead single, ‘She Still Leads Me On’ which brilliantly sets the tone for the rest of the album. The bass as delivered by Mat Osman rolls off Andreson’s vocal delivery, with each being the perfect foil for one another. It screams through your speakers with such youthful disregard, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were playing Ash’s ‘1977’ rather than an album whose previous release was the aforementioned ‘The Blue Hour’.

Following track, ‘Personality Disorder’ takes a much more direct melodic style, with melody being ditched in favour of military-esque guitars. Within the chorus chanting can be made out, coupled with the power chords this could be the closest we ever hear to Suede playing Oi!.

This isn’t to say that the album is solely made up of the youthful punk rock of the opening two tracks, far from it. ‘Autofiction’ has its more sombre moments, where Anderson’s introspection is laid bare for all to see. This is most evident within ‘Drive Myself Home’ which drastically brings the tempo of the album down. Anderson’s cries of “I’ll be anything you want me to be” combined with the guitar make for a heart-breaking listen.

‘That Boy On The Stage’ and ‘Black Ice’ see the band drawing on a more post-punk sound, with the latter sounding like a Public Image Ltd medley. It highlights that the band are reaching a level of maturity, becoming a band unafraid to draw inspiration from artists they loved when they were just starting out.

Given the overall approach Suede have taken to the album, it seems fitting that ‘Autofiction’ closes on a track titled ‘Turn Your Brain Off and Yell’. It closes the album on a fittingly atmospheric high note, with the bass and drum combinations dancing together in a dark, almost gothic, waltz. The grandiose nature of Anderson’s vocal range gives the track the required sense of drama. The line “Come on feel the sunshine” is a beautifully poignant note to end an album so packed with the joys of youth. 

Autofiction has breathed fresh life into Suede. For a band whose previous offerings have often plunged the murky depths, this record sounds like them coming up for air. Contently changing, constantly evolving and refusing to commit to one sound, Suede sound totally rejuvenated, opening a fresh chapter in the ever-evolving story of the band.

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