So as part of the build up to looking at the new Manic Street Preachers album (I know it has been out for a few weeks, but we have other thing to do), we are currently looking at all their previous releases. For this I have picked up the album 'Lifeblood'. I will admit I lost my way with MSP during this period. They had become to me a band for the Topshop music purchasers; they had become everything that they had fought against when they first started. When they first came out they looked like the glam zombie corpses of a different day of rock n' roll. At 'Lifeblood' they had left that image long behind. They were polished and had become a band that could be played in the background at dinner parties, whilst the host told his old football stories. So how does it stand up almost 9 years after it was released to the world?
Starting with "1985" the band sound as if they were trying to move away from what they were doing musically, lyrically it is a reflection of what they were up to in 1985 and the lyrics are key here. It is what keeps me interested in them for so long, but this song as good as it is played is so far away from their grease bomb birth that it feels weird that it is the same band. And this is a pattern that becomes a familiarity for the whole album - "A Song For Departure", "The Love Of Richard Nixon" and To Repel Ghosts" - I could name any song on this album and no matter how well it is played and how well the lyrics are written, it is not what I came to expect from the band. There was outside forces going on at the time to be honest, but for me it sounds like a bad lost and without a map.
There is some good moments to be honest, "Emily" which is about Emily Pankhurst (a member of the women's suffrage movement from years ago), "Cardiff Afterlife" which was dealing with the loss of Richey Edwards and "Glasnot" which talks about life being harder than it should be; yet the album feels like the band forgot what they were and I spent the whole album wanting the band to do a Burzum cover at the end just to mess with people's heads. This was not what I want the Manic's to be remembered for, they should be remembered for good and great albums, not pleasant albums. The band would perfect this formula later on with "Postcards From A Young Man", but this album just goes too far the other way from what they are doing beforehand. This is not a bad record, but it is the sound of a band in a coma. I love a lot of their stuff; this is not one of the things that I will be returning to; file under lost in translation.
2.5 out of ten - If only there was some quality control
You can purchase the album from Amazon
You can visit the Manic Street Preachers website
You can listen to the album on Spotify here