2 December 2013

Manic Street Preachers - Send Away The Tigers

We're nearing the completion of reviewing the Manics' catalogue in its entirety now and this album has been observed by many as possibly the Welsh trio's most pop-ish album. How come then? It certainly isn't a seventeen track opus like Generation Terrorists, maybe it's more This Is My Truth or Everything Must Go? By their normally high standards, this appears to be a more relaxed affair. But I could be wrong given their previous offering Lifeblood which we've previously reviewed.

If I'm honest, I'm not always bound to agree with The Editor's comments but on this occasion, I do concur with him in that Lifeblood was directionless and didn't have much guts-gone-for-glory in the songwriting either. Three years down the line and we're presented with this record which remarkably has a few little interesting snippets up its sleeve, not a lot, but enough to make a few interesting ripples in the ten tracks here.

First a little bit of bad news, Indian Summer runs off the same beat of A Design For Life as well as The Second Great Depression, but that's where the moaning stops. James Dean Bradfield has some well worked running riffs throughout the whole narrative to compensate and those are possibly the worst tracks on SATT though they're not bad in their own right, just a bit too similar to the MSP's better known hits. Rendition is a return to their politically stirred instincts and maybe danceable? Thankfully not as Sean Moore's beat changes in the bridges keeps it all in check and Nicky Wire's foreboding writings of what the US government is capable of in your interrogation (inspired by George W. Bush's infamous War On Terror speech).

It had to be said eventually, The Cardigan's Nina Persson forges a duet on Your Love Alone Is Not Enough, which I understand is a pet hate of blogger Pete Gray. Ok, so maybe Miss Persson does add a bit of Swedish middle of the road pep to the mix and maybe Wire's final three lines on every verse is exhaustively repetitive, but is it still catchy seven years later or simply irritating? I'm recording an open verdict on this one. I'm Just A Patsy (inspired by the Lee Harvey Oswald quote shortly before he was murdered) is possibly the best tune out of the "ten" here, I find it very addictive but strangely though, Imperial Bodybags feels like the Manics had a brainstormer while listening to Brian Seltzer and Wilko Johnson.

Manic Street Preachers historically never seem to know the term user friendly but Send Away The Tigers is a firm favourite of Wire's and it's come up with one or two little surprises for me. First, not as heavily laden as Know Your Enemy or Generation Terrorists and most tracks on it barely last four minutes, but it sounds like a reassuring album to me and best of all, they've gone for a simple rock n' roll format without too much input from a string combo. A three year break for the threesome certainly worked wonders and definitely rekindled their labour of love in music.

8 out of ten. Oh, now you have my attention, and maybe my money, time and heart.

Buy Send Away The Tigers here on Amazon
Manics' official website here on this link
Listen to the album here on Deezer

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