Friday 19 January 2018

Manics rewind to past glory

manic street preachers

Rewind the Film

(Sony)

4 STARS

I can't have been the only one who got bored of Manic Street Preachers some time ago. Even the most avowed fan would struggle to mount an argument that they had lost that spark that had made them feel so vital 20 years ago.

All too often, they appeared content to deliver music that was uninspired, leaden and perilously close to dad-rock.

This album feels very different. The bombast has been eschewed. Instead, the focus is on beautifully crafted, largely acoustic songs that seem to have come direct from the heart. "How I hate middle age," he sings on Builder of Routines, "in between acceptance and rage."

There's a strong emphasis on songs that look back, often longingly, to the past – especially to childhood. The title track is a contender for song of the year and finds Richard Hawley taking lead vocals. He sings beautifully here and it's an inspired, and somewhat brave, decision of James Dean Bradfield's to relinquish lead vocal on such a powerful song which touchingly recalls happier times.

There are no shortage of songs that are nostalgia-tinged, including Show Me the Wonder, another song which suggests that the band are in their best form in years.

One of the things that really appeals about this album is the trio's refusal to sermonise – Nicky Wire's preachy material has been difficult to stomach in the past.

The sound of a mature band – finding themselves again.

Key tracks: Rewind the Film; Show Me the Wonder

Irish Independent

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