TEN months after the brilliant Rewind The Film, Manic Street Preachers’ eleventh studio album, comes Futurology, the prolific Welsh trio’s twelfth. Phew. Is there something in the water in South Wales or what?
And if Rewind.. was a Manics album like no other – shorn of guitars and more a folk record than anything else – Futurology is more audibly the band behind 1994’s The Holy Bible.
But while that album was musically to all intents and purposes a 90s punk record, Futurology’s parentage is less clear. Trumpeted as their Krautrock album – Misguided Missile contains the line “I am the Sturm und Drang” and Europa Geht Durch Mich features German actress Nina Hoss on vocals – it’s a description that is a little misleading.
Some of Futurology would sit perfectly on the band’s much maligned and underrated second album Gold Against The Soul, while single Walk Me To The Bridge and The View From Stow Hill would not be out of place on the band’s commercial high point, 1996’s Everything Must Go.
They race through genres like a band making their debut. There’s thrilling War of the Worlds-esque spacey instrumentals, poppy electro rock, and in Divine Youth the closest they’ve come to an 80s power ballad than anything they’ve done since Little Baby Nothing.
What makes it so similar to The Holy Bible is that, like that masterpiece, Futurology is driven, lyrically complex and, most importantly of all, incredibly melodic.
Like this? Try these: Talking Heads, Fear of Music; The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground
By Andrew Greenhalgh