Thursday, November 20, 2008

Manic Street Preachers : The New Testament?

The Manic Street Preachers recently announced that their next album, tentatively pencilled in for spring 2009, will feature lyrics that were left behind by former member Richey Edwards, who disappeared in 1995. Writing on their official site, the band state:

'All the songs we are recording are lyrics left to us by Richey. Finally it feels like the right time to use them...Musically, in many ways it feels like a follow up to The Holy Bible but there is also an acoustic side – tender, romantic, nihilism, “Small Black Flowers That Grow In The Sky” esque. It’s a record that celebrates the genius of his words, full of love, anger, intelligence and respect. We have to make this great. Wish us luck.'

Comparisons to 1994's The Holy Bible (9), the last album they recorded as a four-piece, are all the more interesting considering the band are working in the studio with producer Steve Albini, who also worked on Nirvana's In Utero (9.5) - one of the few mainstream albums released during the 1990's that can match The Holy Bible for sheer, uncompromising fury and despair.

However, creating something that can stand comparison with such a monumental piece of work - The Holy Bible is still an absolutely terrifying listen that includes anorexia, concentration camps and the sterilization of rapists among its subject matter - is easier said than done. This is no longer the same band who caused over 25,000 complaints when they appeared on Top of the Pops wearing balaclavas and military gear, but three middle-aged men whose main obsessions these days seem to be (a) hoovering, (b) Motown/Spector homages, and (c) ridiculously expensive consumer products. 'Your Love Alone Is Not Enough' may well have been a stirring single, but last year's Send Away the Tigers (5) was a distinctly average album and certainly not the career-rejuvenating triumph it was painted as in some quarters.

Still, cynicism aside, let's hope they can pull it off, and there'll be nobody happier than me if they do: MOR irrelevance is a sad fate to befall a band once capable of this:

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