The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website


Shop Danijela Bočev , February 2nd, 2023 08:01

Long-awaited record finds London-based Memorials Of Distinction house band SUEP in full high flying five piece formation, finds Dani Bocev

Fearturing members of Porridge Radio, Joanna Gruesome, Garden Centre and PC World, SUEP’s debut is fresh outsider guitar pop packed in a six track genre-fluid mini album. Tied by the force of invincible friendship, SUEP playfully subvert every little life-struggle into cohesively winsome tunes, flying high on lighthearted theatrics and absurdist reserve against the world.

‘Domesticated Dream’ deftly wraps the realities of the boozy post-lockdown artificial paradise in breezy tropicalia and enchanting synthscapes, spacing out a safe space for dreams to rise and fall apart in. Self (un)consciously fun, with finely measured left-turns full of cheeky vocal harmonies, scintillating second-hand percussion clutter, domesticated guitar hero licks and infectious yippy-yay-ay chorus digs, this is a hit never shy of more cowbell.

Painting it in imaginary pantone hues for the years, ‘Domesticated Dream’ is a portrait of the youth in a time of housing crisis (“give me a balcony, give me my own kitchen”) projecting their utopian dreams into “the psychedelic 4000s”. It’s a piece of perfect retro-futurist sophisti-camp pop music made for kitchen-floor divas murdering the dance floor (possibly spilling only ketchup blood). I certainly would fit the enjoyer description. In fact, it’s literally written all over my pretty retro enamel pot saying ‘this kitchen is for dancing’. I’m half living the domestic dream, if only spending nights baking verbose write-ups and epic playlists instead of cookies for the family.

Sharing main vocal duties, the band members expand their sprawling narratives deeper into mystified kitchen-sink storytelling and shouty crowd-pleasing pub anthems for the “outsiders, late-risers and lost souls”. ‘Just a Job’ unfolds against a lethargic drum machine to make peace with a joy-stealing menial existence. The dry, telegraphic inner monologue coupled with the track’s stern dramatic inflections breeds desperate dignity in mundanity.

‘Misery’ takes SUEP’s love of shifty dramatics on a cosmic blues lonesome ranger ride. Its fragmented, stream-of-consciousness micro-storytelling throws you into the heart of a personal drama. Courting miniature tragedies with lyrical stabs like “I love you in every way, but now it’s time to say goodbye”, sounding full of faux bravado, like some dizzy tightrope walker briefly glancing downwards and catching a crowd in suspense.

Despite the unpredictable theatricality, SUEP’s virtue lies in their core steadiness and bright even temper, offering a comfortably thrilling blend of brilliantly fused melodic and rhythmic elements, brimming with detailed turns of phrase. With external challenges growing exponentially, the intersection of mental health and social crisis has never been more marked, under the weight of collapsing ecosystems and economic instability. The privatisation of stress offers us no alternative but to suffer in private and take on the lion’s share of the underlying collective problems.

Deeper under the layers of repressive cultural emophobia, simplistic rationalisations that vulgarise personal distress into chemical imbalance, the snake oil advice of primitive stoicism lurking out of context in digital spaces, baiting us into a superficially functional reduction of humanity. The contemporary overpathologising of the slightest emergence of any real emotion threatens to cheat us of its healing power.

While elsewhere, SUEP’s smoothly rolling grooves and spacy harmonies might seem goofily ironic; ‘In Good Health’ is a proper cathartic antidote where the only measure of health is distress accepted and fully-felt. A song born out of Georgie Stott’s mental health emergency followed by hospitalisation and later health anxiety agoraphobia, she underlines the importance of having the right people around, quietly healing as they allow you to be you. The energetic nocturnal euphoria of her high vocal performance powers through with stark moody brilliance, evoking Siouxsie Sioux, carried through on a crystalline synth motif, signaling emergency but promising triumph.

There is more fluid variety and quiet eventfulness on this unassuming debut mini-album than many would hope to sell you for more on their later career full lengths. Slip comfortably into your best charity shop outfit for the psychedelic 4070s and let these songs SUEP you off your feet.