Review Summary: Under Neon Loneliness, CHAPTER 10: “Crushed Any Happiness You Knew…”
Up until Postcards from a Young Man
, the one thing you could never accuse the Manic Street Preachers of is making the same album twice. Whether it be the move to a metal and grunge hybrid on Gold Against the Soul
, the basking in of post-punk savageness on The Holy Bible
to the slick power pop of Everything Must Go
, the Manic’s proved back-to-back, album after album that they could never simply be pinned down as a band for the NME
or Classic Rock
’s adorning pages. With complacency entering middle age and the dreaded Nicky Wire quote that this would be, “One last shot at mass communication”, the Manic’s pulled up stumps with what is arguably their poorest effort to date.
is effectively a continuation of what Send Away the Tigers
purported 3 years earlier; that is, take no prisoners and simply extend the olive branch of compromise. The problem comes down to that on Send Away the Tigers
, the formula sounded vital and refreshing after the lull and downfall brought on by Lifeblood
. Here, it sounds ignorant and unconscious; something that rarely befell the Manic’s throughout the ‘90s. The likes of “(It’s Not War) Just the End of Love” provide fairly banal lyricism in the vein of “To feel forgiveness/you’ve gotta forgive”, while James Dean Bradfield can hardly be given kudos for his musical work either. The days of “4st. 7lb” and “Slash N Burn” appear to be well behind him as he serves up song after song of uninspired and weak riffs. The odd exception appears in the grandiose choirs of “Some Kind of Nothingness”, where Bradfield and Bunnymen Ian McCulloch soar with beauty, nostalgic and regretful morning for missed childhood romance. However it’s an exception to the rule and not the rule itself- the other 11 songs are in turn boring and minimally exciting trudges through ‘guest’ appearances (Duff McKagan on “A Billion Balconies Facing the Sun”, John Cale on “Hazelton Avenue”) and all together mind bogglingly un-Manic behaviour.
Whether it be classified as ‘maturing’ or simply getting old, Postcards…
is nothing important nor special in the scheme of the bands discography. When the Manic’s continued to hit back with relevancy up until this point, their 2010 effort marks a stagnating era where they simply micked themselves at their least impressive in order to pace their own growth. Unimpressive.
NEXT: “Hide All Lowry’s Paintings…”