Manic Street Preachers may look a bit Smithsy here, but on their next album it's full-on Queen time. Yup, they're going pop again...
In their Cardiff headquarters, Manic Street Preachers are playing us the title track From their album, Postcards
From A Young Man'. We remark that the vocal sounds a bit like Queen. "Back of the net!" exclaims Nicky Wire at our suggestion,
"Nick's been buying me loads of vests," jokes James Dean Bradfield. "We're going for big radio hits on this one. It isn't a follow up to 'Journal For Plague Lovers', it's one last shot at mass communication."
That might sound like a farewell, but really the Manics are just so revitalised that they're shooting for the kind of relevance - and hits - they enjoyed with 'Everything Must Go'.
The band have been recording their 10th album with longtime producer Dave Eringa. Likely lead Single 'It's Not
War Just End Of Love' is more bombastic than the title track. Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan plays on 'A Billion Balconies Facing The Sun'. Three tracks feature a gospel choir. Such a blatant commercial approach was, to the band, the only option after 'Journal...'. Nicky: "We've always been about infiltrating the mainstream. It was a conscious decision this time to want to hear ourselves on the radio. Our mantra at the start was, 'If you've got something to say, say it to as many people as humanly possible."
Lyrically, Nicky has been inspired by John Gray's novel Straw Dogs, the poetry of Anne Sexton and the plays
of Sara Kane. Quotes from Gray, English film director Derek Jarman and the late Malcolm McLaren adorn the studio walls, along with images of Courtney Love and actor Tim Roth. "I believe in the tactile nature of rock'n'roll," he says."There's a generation missing out on what music meant to us." He stops short of describing the record as topical, "You can only elaborate on the stuff that compels you to. But 'It's Not War...' is kind of saying, Alright, we're not 18, but even at 40 the rage is still there."