Review Summary: Under Neon Loneliness, CHAPTER 8: “People Like You Need to Fuck People Like Me…”
The Manic’s knew failure better than the back of their hands. They set themselves up to fail by initially claiming they would be the biggest band in the world. They lost everything as soon as the enigmatic Richey Edwards removed himself from the public. They absolutely crushed their core fanbase with the prominence of strings and melancholy on This is My Truth Tell Me Yours
, with Know Your Enemy
only serving to harshen the burn. On top of the heavily ignored Lifeblood
, you’d have thought the Manic’s would have been done in 2007- characteristically, they bucked expectations and kindly made up for past misdeeds.
Taking time off between releases, Bradfield and Wire both took to purging themselves of the missteps that riddled their respective writing corners. Bradfield released his solo record The Great Western
, an album of tracks influenced by the likes of New Order or Electronic- cold synths rubbed shoulders with personal introspection via the conduit of it all, The Great Western, a train he’d ride to see his dying mother. Wire released I Killed the Zeitgeist
, a rabble rousing and audacious album of The Jam-inspired punk rock spirit. Fresh, both were now ready to start anew.
As such, Send Away the Tigers
feels like a heartfelt apology to every fan they’d ***ed around and made look in odd directions over the years. At 10 tracks and just under 40 minutes long, Tigers
is carefully constructed pop that fits the ‘Everything Must Go
meets Generation Terrorists
’ manifesto set out upon. Hooks real you in like fish on bait at the choruses, with the crunching chug of “Underdogs” proving to be one of the bands punchiest singles in years. Likewise, “Imperial Bodybags”, “Rendition” and the title track all prove without question that the Manic’s can still bounce with effervescent energy and rock the Gibson Les Paul in vicious fashion.
Apart from the moments of straight forward uplifting pop and hard rock however, Send Away the Tigers
stifles its own identity by simply being far too simplistic for its own good. Nicky Wire pens some of his worst lyrics in some time, with the prettiness of tracks such as “I’m Just a Patsy” and “Your Love Alone Is Not Enough” being undermined by the newly rudimentary pen of Wire. Of course, Wire is nothing like Richey Edwards when it comes to lyrics but to say these lyrics deserves more depth is an understatement- they require far more work than is given to them. At times, like the Guns N’ Roses’ idolizing of “Autumnsong”, it seriously undermines the heavy hitting anthemic nature with trashy lyricism to boot.
But to criticize Tigers
for being too simple is a contradiction. If they were to have released the B-Sides for the record, full of experimentation and frugal lyrical depth, the band would have been eagerly torn apart for their lack of earnest and precocious nature to attempt to experiment after their past and its given context. Naturally, Tigers
is the apology the Manic’s fanbase needed at the time, and while post-reunion excitement has seen it age somewhat poorly, it set them up for what is arguably one of Rock & Roll’s finest nostalgia trips and a deserving close to one of the bands most significant chapters.
NEXT: “What if a Married Man ***s a Catholic…"”