Manic Street Preachers - Leicester Mercury, 28th October 2010
The Manic Street Preachers are feeling nostalgic and want everyone to know, says Gemma Peplow.
Following last year's cathartic Journal For Plague Lovers, an album based around missing guitarist Richey Edwards' unused lyrics, the Manic Street Preachers have now released their tenth studio album.
That's right, tenth. Their first, Generation Terrorists, was out in 1992. Makes you feel old, doesn't it?
Postcards From A Young Man, which charted at number three in September, is a return to the arena-sized choruses of 90s album Everything Must Go, and the band have taken on their most extensive UK tour ever to coincide with the release.
"When you look at most bands," says bassist Nicky Wire, "by the time they get to their tenth album, people may still come to the shows, but everyone knows the albums have been rubbish for years.
"If you're an 'artist', everyone goes to the Royal Festival Hall to see you. But no one listens to your new record. Well, that's not good enough.
"From the moment we started, we wanted the biggest number of people to hear what we had to say. We want to hear these records on the radio.
"Everyone is talking about the death of the rock business. I don't know. But if it is, this is a last shot of mass communication."
Singer James Dean Bradfield and Nicky have known each other since they were five. They began writing songs about the miners' strike when they were 15.
The title track from the album is about nostalgia, says Nicky. "I've kept all the postcards that Sean, James, Richey and my mum sent me when I was at uni. We were prolific communicators. Every time you got the post there'd be a bundle in there with a collage or a poster.
"It's about nostalgia and youth, it's sentimental but it's real. And it's a great Manicsy title.
"The album's working title was 'It's Not Love, Just The End Of War', but this just suits it perfectly, like the Tim Roth image on the cover.
"We grew up with Made In Britain and King Of The Ghetto. It's just very Manics."
Postcards From A Young Man was recorded in the Manics' studio in Cardiff, with long-time producer/ collaborator Dave Eringa and mixed in LA with Chris Lord-Alge.
It's their third album in as many years, and it has seen the band team up with the likes of Guns 'N' Roses's Duff McKagan and Echo and the Bunnymen's Ian McCulloch.
"We've always been about infiltrating the mainstream," says Nicky. "Our mantra at the start was, 'If you've got something to say, say it to as many people as possible.'"