Manic Street Preachers
Rewind The Film


2.5
average

Review

by AgainAnd USER (6 Reviews)
September 17th, 2013 | 36 replies


Release Date: 2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: On Rewind the Film Manic Street Preachers sound less manic and less depressive than before.

In the two decades that have passed since the Manic Street Preachers declared themselves Generation Terrorists on their debut, the Manics have displayed a tendency for bipolar swings in mood and music. The biggest of these was from the bitter and brilliant The Holy Bible to the elated grandeur of Everything Must Go, but variations of the same theme feature throughout their discography. Most recently, they swapped their audience of plagued lovers for young men, the change accomplished in a just a year. But pendulums don’t swing forever: on Rewind the Film the band seems to carry unusually little explosive energy, exchanged for midlife navel-gazing and subtle arrangements.

For the Manics, this is certainly a change of pace. Even as they would turn from a low-point of depression to another high, attacks of electric guitar and James Bradfield’s vocals would rarely figure out of the equation completely. Rewind the Film does away with both to a degree, being built upon acoustic guitar with flourishes of horns or electronics, as well as featuring guest-vocalists on a number of songs. In parts one can even detect a folk influence in the guitar-work, and glimpses of world music are shown on the nods to Japan on “(I Miss the) Tokio Skyline.”

While all this might be new for Manic Street Preachers, in avoiding repeating themselves the band appear to borrow from other artists and genres. For instance, “Anthem for a Lost Cause” begins with a guitar melody eerily reminiscent of early Radiohead B-side “You Never Wash Up After Yourself.” The fault manifests more seriously on the weakest moments of the album, such as the Cate le Bon sung easy-listening ditty of “4 Lonely Roads” or “Running out of Fantasy”. For all of the musical restlessness evident in their two-decade history, Manic Street Preachers have developed themselves a sonic identity which is often abandoned on Rewind the Film to unsatisfying ends.

It’s not all bad, though. Moments on Rewind the Film show us hints of what the Manics must have been aiming at with the changes they’ve made to their music. The title track “Rewind the Film” is where everything seems to work. Acoustic guitar evocative of nostalgia complements the guest vocalist Richard Hawley on relatively subdued verses. Approaching the chorus, drums patter and a wonderfully upward-aspiring guitar melody introduces James Dean Bradfield’s vocals, made all the more powerful by their contrast with Hawley’s earth-bound baritone. Another highlight is the eerie instrumental “Manorbier”, which is fronted by ghostly guitar wrapped in theremin-like synths. Wordless chanting breaks in near the end. It’s moody, it’s sonically gripping, and it’s not something Manic Street Preachers have done before.

If all three could be said of the album, Rewind the Film would be an impressive and unique album showcasing the band’s diversity. As it is, the Manic Street Preachers are to be commended for their willingness to embrace things new to them, but the execution leaves much to be desired. With Rewind the Film you do get eleven songs which swing from bad to great, but with most lying in the neutral middle ground. While the Manics are still manic-depressive, their ecstatic highs and raging lows are both flatter than ever.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
greg84
Emeritus
September 17th 2013


7587 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

I usually dig these guys, but on the first listen this didn't do anything for me. Good review.

Digging: Rina Sawayama - RINA

AliW1993
September 17th 2013


7511 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I've not made my mind up about this yet, but I'm glad they've tried something different - I didn't enjoy their last few records at all.



The title track with Richard Hawley is fantastic. Such a great singer, and his voice compliments Bradfield's really well.

AgainAnd
September 17th 2013


281 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah, hearing "Rewind the Film" at first made me optimistic about this. A tad bummed I couldn't enjoy the whole album all too much.

AliW1993
September 17th 2013


7511 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah, I've only listened to it once, and most of it didn't make much of an impression. It may grow on me but for now I'm on the fence.

menawati
September 17th 2013


16584 Comments


not sure ill bother havent liked anything since their 4th, nice review tho

Digging: Motorpsycho - The Tower

Jethro42
September 17th 2013


15120 Comments


I only know and like The Holy Bible.

Departures
September 17th 2013


951 Comments


These guys used to be SOOO GOOD! :[

Wadlez
September 18th 2013


4913 Comments


This is getting highly rated in metacritic.. Not that that matters much

TheVermMaremagnum
September 18th 2013


252 Comments


Love manics 90's work but I lost interest in this band. Maybe I will check this

LittleStranger
September 18th 2013


481 Comments


Just bought this album, correct to assume it's in similar vein to say Lifeblood/TIMTTMY?

AgainAnd
September 18th 2013


281 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

TIMTTMY is the Manics album I would affiliate this with the most. As for Lifeblood, I didn't really think of that when listening to the album. This seems more stripped down / calmer than Lifeblood. Then again, I haven't listened to those albums too much so I might remember them wrong.

Beauers
September 18th 2013


388 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

'Journal' was an amazing album, Postcards was decent but this really is quite boring. Such a shame too as they've always been one of my favourite bands

greg84
Emeritus
September 18th 2013


7587 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

I totally agree. I also think Know Your Enemy is really underrated. I really dig that album.

Crawl
September 18th 2013


2373 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I actually like this. Title track is obviously the best one

Digging: Citizen - As You Please

tomwaits4noman
September 18th 2013


91 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well written but strongly disagree... This and Plague Lovers are two of the best albums they have released recently. It is a grower of an album. While Postcards felt overly bombastic and the sound of a band trying too hard to appear relevant (I really tried hard to like it but find it average), RTF is perhaps the most honest and sincere album the band has released since EMG. The band have written some great acoustic songs normally hidden as b sides (Love torn us under, Too Cold here, R.P McMurphy, Dead trees.. etc), There are many highlights to the album... Wire finally delivers a strong lead vocal performance, Bradder's on top form and Sean gets the chance to dust off the trumpet on a few songs.

AgainAnd
September 18th 2013


281 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Glad to hear there are people who, unlike myself, are able to really enjoy this album.

LittleStranger
September 19th 2013


481 Comments


I'm going to put up my own review of this soon. 3 Ways to See Despair and 30-Year War are some of their best songs since Plague Lovers, but there's a few tracks on it that, in the words of Richey Edwards, "bore the sunshine out of me"

AgainAnd
September 19th 2013


281 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Anxiously waiting for your review. The more the merrier!

LittleStranger
September 19th 2013


481 Comments


Agree about the comment some of their best tracks have been acoustic b-sides, namely RP McMurphy and Bored Out of My Mind. I'm personally a little more excited for Futurology though

LittleStranger
September 20th 2013


481 Comments


Here is my RTF review

http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/58994/Manic-Street-Preachers-Rewind-The-Film/



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