Manic Street Preachers Send Away The Tigers

I have wanted The Manic Street Preachers to rock again for a very long time. Through the hard times of the disappointing ‘Lifeblood’, through the endless faffing about of their best of and b-sides tours, all I wanted to hear was a good slab of chunky rock from the Welsh trio. I wanted to hear venom, bile, feedback and distortion.

What they eventually came out with surpassed all my expectations.

As the a chunky, stuttering opening riff of ‘The Second Great Depression’ kicks into a huge, soaring, guitar driven chorus, it becomes obvious that the Manic Street Preachers are filled with new energy. Not only are they louder, heavier and revitalised, but they also sound like they’re having a huge amount of fun.

Not to say that the songs on this album are frivolous. The themes dealt with here are among the meatiest the band has dealt with since the vitriolic days of ‘The Holy Bible’. ‘Rendition’, for example, is about the controversial issue of extraordinary rendition. At the other end of the spectrum, lead single ‘Your Love Alone is Not Enough’ featuring a star turn by Nina Persson of The Cardigans, is a wistful chunk of wonderful guitar pop with a call-and-answer vocal.

Before you’ve had time to think, half the album has flown by, and you come to as ‘Indian Summer’, one of the albums strongest tracks, takes things up a notch with soaring strings and luxurious production values.

Unfortunately, things get so good that the quality can’t quite last over the album’s ten tracks. ‘Autumnsong’ has a cloying sentimentality about it, with the once uncompromising Manics seeming to shrug off all their values and sigh, “why can’t we all just get along?” Similarly, ‘Imperial Bodybags’ is a tedious, testosterone driven rock’n’roll song, and seems pretty much out of place here.

That said, ‘Send Away The Tigers’ is the Manic’s strongest work since 1996’s ‘Everything Must Go’, and stands up to multiple listens. If they keep producing work of this quality, they should keep going for a very long time yet.