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Manic Street Preachers – Send Away The Tigers

If there’s one thing you can say about the Manic Street Preachers is that they’re honest—from the influences within their songs to their own honesty with themselves as individuals, and even as a group. Having been at this thing called music since the very early ‘90s, it sounds like they’re really starting to have fun with it, and the proof is in the blood pudding (…sorry) on their brand spanking new album, Send Away the Tigers.

Although they fancied the British legends the Clash and Sex Pistols, their sound definitely leaned in its own direction, even taking a slightly different path from where the Britpop movement was headed or even the Hacienda rave thang.


Today their innate ability for molding to-the-sky melodies is still present in a variety of ways, but the energy really shoots out on “Your Love Alone is Not Enough,” which features the lovely Nina Persson of The Cardigans. Now at first listen, this may sound like a love song, considering the title. But what they say about reading a book’s cover can be said with interpreting music as well. According to Nicky Wire (bassist), it delves both into the concept that any country needs not one but many elements in life—people, democracy, love and even religion—to survive while touching on suicide (yes, this is a topic that has popped up in past material), in a dedication to former member, Richey James.

The other songs—from the standup bass/stray-cat-strut of “Imperial Bodybags” to the drum corps/jumping jack dance of “Rendition” and the grandiose “Indian Summer”—all have layered meanings behind them. But of course, it’s also up to the listener to interpret things on their own to make the songs their own.

For the first time I heard James Bradfield’s vocals in a new way, as if he could have as easily wound up fronting a heavy metal band in Los Angeles. Funny, considering that when I was spinning tracks from Everything Must Go in ‘96, I thought his chance of wearing big hair and shiny leather would equal the probability that Rob Dickinson (Catherine Wheel) would join his brother Bruce Dickinson on an Iron Maiden tour.

Thing is, this time around they have let their hair down along with their love for some guilty pleasures, as you can clearly hear in the lead intro for “Autumnsong,” which is very Whiskey or Rainbow club, circa 1986.

Send Away the Tigers is a great addition to the Manic Street Preacher’s catalog, and it seems that the fans agree. The band sold out all their shows in June and were part of the Glastonbury line up, seem to be getting good airplay back in the U.K., and are continuing to hit the festival circuit through the summer along with dates at the infamous Brixton Academy. Fingers crossed that they make it this way sometime soon.


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