Manic Street Preachers
Postcards From A Young Man
reviewed by Glitterbitch
First impressions can be a very dangerous thing. Especially when it comes to the release of any new material from the Manics
For many of the bands fans each new release is greeted with anticipation, excitement and just a hint of nervousness. Unlike many devoted fan bases, the MSP brigade is highly divided into who likes what era and what album and has been so since Everything Must Go.
I dont think there is any doubt that they were at their most exciting in those early eyeliner and spray paint days, that the pinnacle of their musical achievements was reached on the Holy Bible and that something was most certainly lost with the disappearance of Richey and the arrival of a more carefree and optimistic sound.
To completely dismiss their output since 1996, as some of the older fans tend to do, as irrelevant is, however, a big mistake. Even a Manic Street Preachers without Richey, attempting mass communication and lacking the energy and ideas of youth is still one that the world needs. I would rather have this version of the band than no version at all and certainly more than other band in the current throwaway music culture.
Thats not to say that everything they do is sublime, indeed there are some albums that possibly should be forgotten, but recent years have seen somewhat of an Indian Summer for the band with the power of their song writing shining through on Send Away The Tigers and Journal For Plague Lovers. For some of us then expectation was high for their tenth studio album.
The first time I heard (Its Not War) Just The End of Love I felt slightly deflated and the first listen of the album didnt do much to improve that mood. I almost gave up on it completely at that point, allowing sentimentality to get the better of me, but I persevered and an album of exceptional song writing finally found its way through. Whilst not as instant as some of their albums, it certainly shows the signs of a band coming to terms with leaving their youth behind. But for this new more mature outlook they still seem as engaging as ever. Maybe they arent going to change the world in the way we all hoped and as stand out track All We Make Is Entertainment suggests but they still continue to change lives and that is just as important.
Postcards From a Young Man is another step forward for the band, which certainly does not forget the past but it is not tied to it in any way. Uplifting and thoughtful, listening to the new Manics makes me feel just as alive as the old version did.