Autofiction

Sep 15, 2022
Web Exclusive

By Dom Gourlay


Suede have pulled off arguably the most successful reformation and comeback in recent years. The band opted to call it a day after their fifth album, 2002’s A New Morning didn’t meet expectations, but then they regrouped seven years later for some live shows and, soon after, 2013’s comeback album, Bloodsports. It’s a move that hasn’t just paid dividends, but has also cemented their status as one of the most consistent bands from the past 25 years, while also introducing them to a new audience in the process.

Autofiction—their fourth album since getting back together (and ninth album overall)—more than lives up to the standards set by its predecessors. Already described in interviews by vocalist and songwriter-in-chief Brett Anderson as the band’s punk record, Autofiction represents a vast departure musically from Suede’s last record, 2018’s The Blue Hour. Yet at the same time, it easily identifies as a Suede album.

Recorded at London’s Konk Studios with long time cohort Ed Buller on production duties, Autofiction is as live and direct as a Suede record gets. Indeed, this back-to-basics approach works wonders in terms of the album’s flow. The album opens with the guttural post-punk of “She Leads Me On,” a kindred spirit of Joy Division/New Order’s “Ceremony” sonically. The equally boisterous “Personality Disorder” and “15 Again” follow suit, while “The Only Way I Can Love You” and “That Boy on the Stage” continues Autofiction’s autobiographical context.

The piano-led “Drive Myself Home” at the album’s midpoint is perhaps the most obvious Suede sounding song on the record for those familiar with the band’s extensive back catalogue. But it’s towards the tail end of Autofiction when the record gathers momentum once more, particularly on “It’s Always the Quiet Ones”—which is reminiscent of Night Time-era Killing Joke—and closing couplet “What Am I Without You?” and “Turn Off Your Brain and Yell.” The latter’s grandiose statement of intent almost certainly assures Autofiction’s presence in the upper echelons of 2022’s “Best Of” lists. (www.suede.co.uk)

Author rating: 8/10

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