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Gentle Pinpricks - Sächsische Zeitung, 10th November 2004

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Title: Gentle Pinpricks
Publication: Sächsische Zeitung
Date: Wednesday 10th November 2004
Writer: Ulf Krüger

The Manic Street Preachers in Wales are no longer moving as much as before - and so are better.

After compiling best of Forever Delayed , Manic Street Preachers only come out now their seventh studio album. And bassist Nicky Wire says: "We'll love it with time". On third listen, it looks like he's right. The melodies flatter the ears. The sound is polished down to the smallest details. The voice of James Dean Bradfield plays on rhythms that bear. The trio carries their memorable pop style better than before. There is no shortage of verbal provocations, but they are now more subtle. "Exposed to a truth we do not know that collapses like the Twin Towers," it is in this Empty Souls .

The three Welsh no longer act as artistic agitators in favor of socialism, but rather as politicians who manifest themselves artistically. In 1985 , they set their roots. That was the year they appeared as George Orwell (with his novel 1984 on the totalitarian state controlled) was right. In addition, Johnny Marr and Morrissey of the Smiths would have brought their tastes. The Cure, Prefab Sprout or U2 also belong to the musical heroes of the "Manic Street Preachers".

It was in 1991 with You Love Us they violently returned for the first time the British charts. The following year, they released their first album. Generation Terrorists was energetic and beautiful. The 18 songs full of social criticism and revolutionary thought should have become the definitive political and artistic statement of the Manic Street Preachers. Then there was a lighter one, withdrawing again - when no one had paid attention to them.

It was after two more albums that guitarist and lyricist Richey Edwards disappeared in February 1995 just before an American tour of his hotel room in London. We will find his car a few weeks later. It has never reappeared since. This is the biggest mystery of pop, since the death of Jim Morrison has been completely clarified.

The memory of this event, which dates back to ten years still contributes the song Cardiff Afterlife . But at the same time, the remaining musicians defend themselves from the fact that the media can influence their memories of their longtime friend. "After Richey's disappearance, we tried to hide behind the music and we did the best job qualitatively," says Bradfield.

This was the case with their album released in May 1996, Everything Must Go , their biggest commercial success and "Album of the Year" in Britain. With This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours (1998) and partly Know Your Enemy (2001), they could be attached to it. The high artistic level of their new work is therefore not surprising. Rather, it does not include visibly political statements. "This time, we were interested in the melodies and the beauty of the songs," says Nicky Wire.

Indeed, it is behind the love song Emily , passionate plea against forgetting the Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst who fought there about 90 years for the right of women's votes. "Charity has taken the place of true political ideas", Nicky Wire deplores a phenomenon of our time. And James Dean Bradfield adds: "We are on a very dangerous path on which today we have completely reduced the meaning of heroism."

It is rather with metaphors that the Manic Street Preachers try to trigger the revision of the designs. Nor do they want to accommodate the fact that the name of former US president Nixon is linked only to the Watergate scandal and not to its commitment to cancer or better relations with China . The Love Of Richard Nixon was the first single to be taken from the album. On the other hand, the political notion apparently Glasnost is the song of the same name rather a personal opinion.

The messages are packed in sweet pop melodies. The group worked for 18 months to improve. As a result, Bradfield finds: "This album shows more openness and humanity, so less arrogance." The Manic Street Preachers are now submitting the reports. It is more constraining from time to time.