Nicky Wire talks to Keith Cameron.
That album title can be read either as a gung-ho statement, or acquiescence.
"Initially, it was dignified defeat, Because We've seen so much fail in our lifetime - political, cultural, even sport, but particularly political - it did feel like we're trying to navigate our way through with less Bolshevism than we once were. gut then halfway through making the record, the melodies were just sinking into us, and there was the idea that surely even people who can't quite get the band will have to bow down."
You say on Broken Algorithms, "These are the real sour times". Yet it's not an overtly political record.
"I've almost shunned it. There's a Phil Ochs quote that has resonated through the whole album: 'In times of such ugliness the only true protest is beauty.' I wish could be as confident and as absolutist as we once were, but it would be lying if I was. James's line on Distant Colours, "a cold war for the mind" - things were actually easier when they were totally black and white, to take a side. I can't condense my thoughts to a tweet...God love him, I'm sure if Richey was around, he might have 'owned' Twitter. 'Cos he was much braver than me."
Sequels Of Forgotten Wars laments "the callous deception of never giving up" - that's a pretty brave piece Of self-analysis.
"It's age and responsibility. There's an avalanche of responsibility with having kids, plus my parents are old, my mum's really ill, she's had leukaemia for the last year, and y'know, you're spread so thin. I'm not an activist. I never have been. I'm a situationist! like the 'ists' and I like the 'isms' but I don't like the active! I'm trying to hold onto the small part I can just about control."
Sequels sounds like an embittered Genesis...
"You've nailed it. Sean on that, it's like listening to Phil Collins at his peak. Which is not a bad thing, as a drummer! That's a funny song 'There'll be no parades for the likes of us/ The wars we fought are doomed to be lost': it does feel like that for us as a band. Was it worth the effort? The reading, the talking, the aesthetic - was it fucking worth it, when we've got where we are now?"
International Blue pulls the classic Manic trick; a euphoric anthem to alienation. Does writing "a soundtrack to the void" constitute job satisfaction?
"(Laughs) I do love that line. To hear that on the radio gives me a massive thrill. But there's an element of bleakness to that as well - before, I would have thought that could really change things. Now it's just gone into the. what did Albini call it? The endless digital hiss! It's a quiet subversion, but it keeps you going as a band."