Manic Street Preachers – Send Away the Tigers
10th Anniversary Edition

“Throw away your yesterday’s / I did it all for you” – Send Away the Tigers, 2007.

I won’t lie. I distinctly remember post-Lifeblood really not being massively into the Manics. Which seems absurd now because when I listen to Lifeblood over a decade later, I hear nothing but brilliance. But anyway, all my fears had become true. The one thing that I’d been clinging onto was a lie, those Manic Street Preachers were actually a bit like what all these people had been telling me for ages. Namely, not all that great. Which from my viewpoint as a broken anxiety ridden fuck-up was devastating. Naturally, I cried buckets for months.

So, it was a great relief when they released their Second Great Comeback album, Send Away the Tigers, in 2007. Here they were full of what made the Manics great, namely balls out euphoric rock. It even returned them to the almost-top of the UK album and singles chart at number 2 (seemingly their glass ceiling position) with Your Love Alone Is Not Enough. Everything was right with the world again. This is the album which, perhaps even more than Everything Must Go, likely stands as a real testament to the longevity and persistence of a band who a year before were seemingly on the verge of irrelevance. If this album had failed, I don’t think we would have ever got Journal for Plague Lovers which would be a travesty.

Re-appraising Send Away the Tigers ten years after the initial release demonstrates a few important things. Looking back now, there is no way really that this album couldn’t have succeeded. The confidence in its sound and production is incredible. On this album, it is clear that the Manics know exactly who they are, something that was sorely lacking throughout the Know Your Enemy – Lifeblood era. They seemed determined to try and be someone else during that time. But on Send Away the Tigers, it appears they just looked back and thought ‘shit, what have we been doing? We’re fucking awesome at this stuff, so let’s just do what we’re good at’. And it worked. For the first time since This Is My Truth, they were even putting out cracking B-sides (Love Letter to The Future, Welcome to The Dead Zone, and Boxes and Lists in particular).

The re-release re-jigs the track list slightly from the original release. Gone is the (admittedly shoddy) Underdogs from the main track list instead replaced with Welcome to The Dead Zone. Also, their cover of John Lennon’s Working Class Hero is now listed as the closing track on the main album proper whilst previously appearing as an uncredited hidden track at the end. In terms of the singles from the album, Your Love Alone featuring Nina Persson was an obvious hit. God, it was great to hear them on the radio again. Autumnsong is a song which I know gets a lot of stick from Manics fans but as a single, it is a perfect choice. Remember, Nicky Wire is obsessed with ‘singles’. Mad for them. Indian Summer probably shouldn’t have been a single but was chosen, perhaps mainly since it almost self-plagiarises the riff from A Design for Life. Other than the singles, Rendition, Imperial Bodybags and the great lost-single-that-never-was, I Am Just a Patsy all hold up to the record's high standard.

This album seemed to exude a confidence in the band visually too. The package looks beautiful itself. Without even listening to the record, you can tell it is going to be an uplifting, commercial record. It even saw a return to the all-important ‘backwards R’ preferred text formatting of Manics fans from the Holy Bible era. These things seemed very important to me at the time. Because I’m mental, obviously.

So, do you need to buy this re-release? Well, not really if you have the original album. But if you are into B-sides and demo versions and that kind of thing, then the deluxe edition is a must. It contains all the associated B sides and extra songs from the era (including the brilliantly awful Christmas single, The Ghost of Christmas, and their really rather great cover of Rihanna’s Umbrella).

More than anything though, it made me realise what a cracking little gem this album is. It’s not one I would usually think of if people ask me to recommend Manics albums, but on closer inspection, perhaps that’s more a symptom of where I was at the time. It was nice to rediscover parts of it to be honest. Definitely one to be proud of.

Words: Richard Bull