Borrowing heavily from David Bowie and the Smiths, Suede forge a distinctively seductive sound on their eponymous album. Guitarist Bernard Butler has a talent for crafting effortlessly catchy, crunching glam hooks like the controlled rush of "Metal Mickey" and the slow, sexy grind of "The Drowners," but he also can construct grand, darkly romantic soundscapes like the sighing "Sleeping Pills" and the tortured "Pantomime Horse." What brings these elegant sounds to life is Brett Anderson, who invests them with bed-sit angst and seamy sex. Anderson's voice is calculatedly affected and theatrical, but it fits the grand emotion of his self-consciously poetic lyrics. Suede are working-class lads striving for glamour, and they achieve it by piecing together remnants of the past with pieces of the present, never forgetting the value of a strong hook in the process. And while the sound of Suede frequently recalls the peak of glam rock, its punk-influenced passion and self-conscious appropriation of the past make it thoroughly postmodern. Coincidentally, its embrace of trashy pop helped usher in an era of Britpop, but few bands captured the theatrical melancholy that gave Suede such resonance.
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine