Manic Street Preachers: Rewind the Film


WHEN a band is on its 11th album, it has generally ceased worrying about commercial success.
For some groups that might engender a certain laziness but that is never an issue with the Manics; instead they are free to experiment with different styles without risking losing all.
Rewind the Film, then, is their much-trumpeted acoustic album, and while not completely successful, it’s a partial triumph.
Single Show Me The Wonder is one of several highlights and showcases the Manics’ continuing ability to produce classic 45s, but fans of its brassy exhuberance should proceed with caution: the bulk of the album is far less radio-friendly.
There are exceptions. Anthem for a Lost Cause, which again uses brass to marvellous effect, could easily be the next single while As Holy as the Soil and 30-Year War are equally memorable.
Another highlight is the superior indie folk of 4 Lonely Roads, featuring Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon, whose vocals provide a nice respite from James Dean Bradfield’s throaty growl.
Other collaborations include Richard Hawley on the dark Nick Cave-like title track and Lucy Rose on This Sullen Welsh Heart, which opens the album in typically Manics fashion. Who else would start a record with the line “I don’t want my children to grow up like me, it’s too soul-destroying, it’s a mocking disease, a wasting disease”?
It’s certainly memorable and could well be about Alzheimer’s but encapsulates one of the band’s peculiarities: for a group who care so passionately about their lyrics, the songs’ meanings are often incomprehensible to the casual listener.


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