Me and Suede have a weird fan history. Their 1993 debut was, for me, a mind blowing record. I adored it. I was obsessed with it – with the band, their image, everything. I bought all the singles on 12 inch vinyl, I hunted the airwaves for TV and radio appearances. And it fundamentally changed my musical tastes. Until then I had been a fan of rock, classic rock, metal and punk. I’d immersed myself in grunge for a few years and then suddenly, out of nowhere, came this glammed up, downbeat indie sounding noise that just grabbed me. It opened me up to a load of indie bands I’d never thought I was particularly interested in before, it opened me up to Bowie, and Roxy Music and a whole load of stuff.
Their follow up to the eponymous debut, Dog Man Star, was hailed as a masterpiece by just about everyone I knew but it just didn’t grab me in the same way. Maybe I wasn’t ready to let go of that sound that I was still obsessed with, after all they were quick to release it, just a year I think after the debut. And then came Coming Up which landed in the middle of Britpop and veered much closer to the generic sound that dominated that scene. I bought it because I was still nominally a fan, but I’ll be honest, I was kind of losing a bit of interest in the band. Which is weird, because usually when I become a fan of someone I remain a fan for life. After that though I didn’t pay much attention to what they were doing at all.
Until now. Because they’ve just released what is possibly the best record of their career. Yes, it even gives Suede a run for it’s money. I think Autofiction is superb, absolutely bloody fantastic. It’s rawer, harder, more direct than anything they’ve ever done before. It veers into post-punk and post-rock territory but it sounds somehow like the album they always had in them. If this had followed Coming Up I would have remained amongst their most fervent fans I think, it would have rekindled that affinity I had for them. That sounds a bit arrogant doesn’t it? Like their career should all be about what I like. But I can only give a perspective from, er, my perspective. In any case, the record is here now and it’s rekindled my affinity about twenty five years later instead.
I picked ‘Personality Disorder’ because I had to pick something from the album. I could have picked anything to be honest, because it is all great. Truly great. At times it’s downbeat and controlled, at others it’s sweeping and epic sounding. What can I say? Go and listen to it. Go and listen to it now. It’s brilliant.