If there’s a more dynamic opening song on any album released this year than She Still Leads Me On then it will come as a shock. Amid dove-tailing guitars and a tautness in structure that few bands can muster (but which to Suede seems to arrive without thinking), the song delves into lead singer Brett Anderson’s relationship with his mother. “I loved her with my last breath and I loved her with a love that was strong as death,” he sings.
The memories continue with agitated (sometimes gloriously epic) guitar songs such as It’s Always the Quiet Ones, 15 Again, That Boy On the Stage, Turn Off Your Brain and Yell, What Am I Without You, and calmer but no less piercing tracks such as Drive Myself Home. Autofiction, then, is well-titled, and arriving on the back of Anderson’s recent brace of insightful memoirs (2018′s Coal Black Mornings, 2019′s Afternoon With the Blinds Drawn) rings true with not always comforting lived experience. There is much more here, however, than anxiously looking in the rearview mirror; since they reformed in 2010 (and particularly since their sixth album, 2013′s Bloodsports), Suede have been more forward-thinking than many of their generation. In 1993, the band released their self-titled debut album – if Autofiction’s evident spark has anything to add to it, it will be a 30th birthday celebrated with a knowing wink and a “job-done” sigh of relief.