WORTH A LOOK?: *****/****
WHEN?: Thursday 15 September 2022, touring until 25 March 2023
TRACKLIST: She Still Leads Me On; Personality Disorder; 15 Again; The Only Way I Can Love You; That Boy On The Stage; Drive Myself Home; Black Ice; Shadow Self; It’s Always The Quiet Ones; What Am I Without You?; Turn Off Your Brain And Yell
SETLIST: She Still Leads Me On; Personality Disorder; 15 Again; That Boy On The Stage; I Don’t Know How To Reach You; Black Ice; Shadow Self; What Am I Without You?; Sabotage; Outsiders; It Starts And Ends With You; Turn Off Your Brain And Yell; Life Is Golden
It’s the night before Suede release their 9th studio album Autofiction and the run-up to it could have not been more perfect if more than a little rough around the edges – although that, of course, is the point.
- Read on for reasons including why Autofiction is exactly the sort of album Kate Bush would make if she was wanting to go punk
We 1st saw the band this year at Razzmatazz in Barcelona in May and observed: ‘What’s coming up next? The band have released 3 interesting and experimental albums since their reformation a decade ago and they are signed to BMG for the next 1 which we assume must be released before this year is out.’
New single She Still Leads Me On followed in June and was a song of the week for us and we said: ‘If the lead-off single is any indication, it’s an album that could be amongst the band’s very best since their 90s heyday.’
August brought us 15 Again, a single of the month for us, and we said: ‘Suede haven’t released 2 songs in a row this thrilling since the double-punch of the classic Trash and Beautiful Ones in 1996.’
Later that month we saw them at Southsea’s glorious Victorious Festival by the sea and said: ‘Lean, mean and urging the audience to join in, Suede frontman Brett Anderson seems absolutely on fire during this main Common Stage slot as the sun sinks on a gorgeous day on Southsea seafront.’
In September That Boy On The Stage was a song of the month for us and we think it’s pivotal to what has made Suede so gloriously out of control and, quite simply, the most thrilling live band to see at the moment. We said: ‘Some may have scoffed when we said this was the band’s best run of singles since Trash and Beautiful Ones in 1996 but we’d go even further now, saying it’s their best since the holy hat-trick of The Drowners, Metal Mickey and Animal Nitrate.’
As we see it performed live for the 1st time we wonder whether Anderson is willfully out of tune in the chorus after his skyscraping falsetto purely because it fits with the song’s narrative about pushing, being out of control and going for it.
It’s a joy to hear some of the album tracks 1st live in this way and Personality Disorder is particularly representative of how the band have described the album as their ‘punk’ record, all jagged guitars and sometimes spoken lyrics.
We marvel at the perculiarly Britishness of some of the song titles that would make a young Morrissey proud, one being It’s Always the Quiet Ones which is also gorgeously melodic that reminds of how good bands like Duran Duran once were.
During the PRYZM gig Anderson explains that What Am I Without You? is his love letter to his audience and it’s a beautiful sentiment that reflects the enormity of adoration we struggle to think of many bands that could inspire in their following. It’s also in a style that Suede do so well, almost musical theatre, in a way that is so exposing and raw.
Album and set closer Turn Off Your Brain And Yell is perhaps Autofiction‘s most compelling track. Anderson urges the listener to ‘reveal yourself’ and it’s a request one feels that he has done completely through this album’s songwriting and performance.
What’s next? There’s 2 Electric Ballroom gigs in Brixton coming up next month and a UK tour in spring including an 02 Brixton Academy gig.
The PRYZM show is an hour long and like Bananarama’s recent album launch gig there’s nothing from the 20th century. We’re so into Autofiction that we would have preferred to have heard it in full like the Crushed Kid gigs earlier this month but these are minor gripes.
Autofiction is exactly the sort of album we think Kate Bush would make if she was wanting to go punk. We also can’t wait to hear, when the pendulum swings the other way, what their next more experimental album is going to sound like. We’d also make a case for it being the band’s best ever album ahead of even their much garlanded debut.