Manic Street Preachers

Resistance Is Futile

Columbia

Apr 06, 2018 Issue #63 - Courtney Barnett Bookmark and Share


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Following on from a late-career flurry of brilliance with the 1-2 combo of melancholic Rewind the Film (2013) and the surging Futurology (2014), Blackwood, Wales' finest have returned with an album that savvy bassist and lyricist Nicky Wire stated back in October 2017 would possibly never happen, their "creative juices" sapped by the endeavors of the aforementioned records.

Situationist stances aside it is clear that on Resistance Is Futile, a little of the classic Manics fire is lackingthose creative juices spread a touch thinly across the 12 uneven tracks on offer. On the plus side is the blazing classic rock of lead single "International Blue," a twisting, soaring stormer that offers inspiration to match the sadnessa true Manics trope.

Opener "People Give In" feels torn from the Everything Must Go songbookand it's undoubtedly anthemic, certainly skyscraping but lyrically banal"People get tired/People stay strong" singer/guitarisy James Dean Bradfield notes with seeming ambivalence.

Later the synth-strewn excellence of downbeat "In Eternity" excels melodically while closer "The Left Behind," on which Bradfield turns over vocal duties to Wire, is a sparse, moving, and tuneful moment of reflection.

Elsewhere on songs like "Dylan & Caitlyn" (on which Bradfield duets with The Anchoress) and more overtly on "Liverpool Revisited," we feel like we are retreading old thematic ground and there's mot much fresh there musically to distract. These songs are not bad per sea little uninspired, perhaps, and, despite the lavish, sometimes striking production, somewhat anemic.

It's typical, of course, of Manic Street Preachers to drop a relatively average album every once in a while, a minor dip among a career of peaks, but it's never less than a compelling part of a larger, longer journey. "Say what you want, break my heart a thousand times" sings Bradfield on the stunning "Distant Colours," and as mild as feelings may be about this new record it certainly doesn't depose them from their spot as one of Britain's most vital and beloved bands. (www.manicstreetpreachers.com)

Author rating: 6.5/10

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