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In The Studio - Q Magazine, February 2014

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Title: In The Studio
Publication: Q Magazine
Date: February 2014
Writer: Robin Turner
Photos: Alex Lake


Behold the angry, noisy, nasty companion piece to last year's reflective Rewind The Film. Grrrr!

The bulk of the Manic Street Preachers' 12th LP, presently titled Futurology and scheduled for May, was recorded at the same time as 2013's Rewind The Film. The latter rang with acoustic guitars and contemplative lyrics that probed the uncertainties facing a band now over two decades old, still trying to work out their place in rock'n'roll's grand scheme. Futurology however, displays no such doubts.

Taking a break from recording, bassist Nicky Wire ponders how two such contrasting albums could gestate together. "Both records are extremely raw and honest in opposite ways," he concludes. "Rewind The Film was a very internalised record. It's about facing truths. Futurology is dark and nasty but it's also a celebration of the sense of motion, of travel."

While Rewind The Film reflected on the band's native Wales, Futurology is the Manics' application to accede to the European Union. Described by Wire as an "industrial Nutbush City Limits", opener Europa Geht Durch Mich (translation - Europe Passes Through Me) powers along like a TGV at full tilt, its bilingual vocals an alliance between Blackwood and Berlin (the latter courtesy of actress Nina Hoss) The track was recorded in Hansa Studios with producer Alex Silva, who collaborated with the Manics on 1994's The Holy Bible.

Wire sees Futurology as "the Bible's bedfellow but it's got an electronic stomp as well. You can hear Journal For Plague Lovers' Marlon JD in there, Weatherall's remix of Peeled Apples, too. And there's some vicious guitars that could be off Send Away The Tigers."

The album also features contributions from Super Animals' Cian Ciaran on the title track and Scritti Politti's Green Gartside on the celestial Between The Clock And The Bed. For the band, he was an obvious choice.

"Green was inspirational in so many ways," says Wire. "His journey out of South Wales isn't unlike the one we made."

Wire muses on adopting stark and severe look for the record while referencing early Human Leaguue, abstract art and The Skids, as well as lyrics about the Welsh entrepreneur who set up the steel industry in Eastern Europe (Dreaming A City) and the "on-going cultural destruction of my hometown" (View From Stow Hill). Summing up the record, he describes it thus: "It's post. It's punk. It's disco. It's rock."

Sounds like the future, right there.