tue 25/06/2019

CD: Manic Street Preachers - Rewind the Film | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Manic Street Preachers - Rewind the Film

CD: Manic Street Preachers - Rewind the Film

Wales's favourite sons still have plenty to say on their 11th album

The Manic Street Preachers are growing old gracefully on 'Rewind the Film'

The punchline about angry upstarts journeying to po-faced middle-aged is an easy enough one for a band to make, but over the past few years the Manic Street Preachers have managed something far harder: they’ve started to make good records again. Rewind the Film is apparently the more sedate of two planned albums and it’s no laughing matter - even if a song called “Anthem for a Lost Cause” is straight out of Manics 101.

From its opening couplet (“I don’t want my children to grow up like me, it’s too soul-destroying, it’s a mocking disease”) to its sepia-tinted title track, Rewind the Film is an album that takes getting older as its main theme. Ageing in the Manics’ world isn’t always pretty and doesn’t have to be taken lying down (“Builder of Routines”). It comes with the loss of friends and bandmates (“As Holy as the Soil”), and the longer it lasts the more likely it is that the same political forces you raged against in your youth will return to power (“30-Year War”). But mostly, if done well, it’s something that can be looked back at with fondness, much as Richard Hawley’s sombre narrator does in “Rewind the Film”.

There’s still a bit of filler - Cate Le Bon’s Laurel Canyon vocal turn on “4 Lonely Roads” is, at best, the obscure B-side experiment that only the fans get excited about; and “Running Out of Fantasy” is pretty painful. But when it’s good, it’s very good: there’s Lucy Rose’s echo-chamber backing vocals on the opener, and the frenetic strings and rhythmic undercurrent that turn the melody on “(I Miss the) Tokyo Skyline” into as much of a love song to an alien culture as its words. As the most uplifting album track, “Show Me The Wonder”, with its audacious brass band chorus, also stands out - try as I might, I can’t locate the Manics’ trademark cynicism in its verses, and that might just be the biggest wonder of all.

Overleaf: hear two very different sides to Rewind the Film

"Rewind the Film", ft. Richard Hawley


"Show Me the Wonder"

 

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