In the 1990s, Suede brought much glamour to the Britpop scene. The band eschewed the lad culture of some of their contemporaries and often times made sweeping grand gestures. After 2002’s A New Morning, the band went on hiatus before releasing Bloodsports 11 years later. Since then, Suede Mach II has released three further albums including the latest Autofiction which by singer Brett Anderson’s accounts, is the band’s punk rock album.
The album starts with single, “She Still Leads Me On” and a scratchy guitar riff courtesy of Richard Oakes. Anderson manages to make a song about his mother anthemic with the line, “But I loved her with my last breath…” “15 Again” blisters like a much younger band. A couple of songs adopt a talk/singing style such as “Personality Disorder” and “Shadow Self”. Bass and drums powers “Black Ice” that is a bit more ramshackle than the band typically sounds as Anderson sings, “we’re on the black ice with no headlights”.
In typical Suede fashion, the word “petrol” appears a few times in the lyrics, but Anderson often paints beautiful images such as the “brief pale light on the bedroom walls” on “Personality Disorder”. A couple of songs such as “It’s Always the Quiet Ones” gets darker and takes on a bit of a goth feel but still bangs out a skyward reaching chorus. Produced by longtime associate Ed Buller, Autofiction is another fine addition to the Suede catalogue on an album that rocks harder than most other 30-year-old bands can muster.