Typically Manic Street Preachers: While many Britons are turning away from Europe, the unwavering socialist band from Wales makes a pro-European album. Especially Berlin and Bowie did it to the trio.
Last autumn's soft, melodic folk-pop record "Rewind The Film" was just a taste, the calm before the storm. Just nine months later, the "Manics" release a powerful, loud exclamation point from Album. On "Futurology" (Sony) presents the tight left trio of its playful and experimental side, it extends its sound and its songwriting. The result: an unexpected career highlight after more than 20 years in the Britrock business.
"It will sound much angular, very European," said bassist and songwriter Nicky Wire the previous year about the then untitled twelfth studio record of the band, which is revered cultivated in the UK and there always occupies top ranks of the charts. Wire also revealed another surprise: "There will be a bilingual song with a German actress."
In the meantime one knows, who was meant: Nina Hoss, the blonde stage and film diva, confidently sings the German part of the nervously driving electric rock song "Europe goes through me". After the impression of the British band Hoss plays here the "pan-European dominatrix" - which is meant expressly as a compliment.
With the text line "European dreams, European screams", the song outlines a main theme of the album - aspirations and reality, beauty and turmoil of a continent from which the British compatriots of Manic Street Preachers increasingly alienate themselves. Nicky Wire, however, emphasizes his sentimental enthusiasm for the European idea - despite all the criticism, he is "an anti-Eurosceptic," as he told the Guardian.
The 13 songs were mainly recorded in the famous Berlin Hansa Studios - exactly where David Bowie created masterpieces such as "Heroes" in the mid / late 70s. The spirit of the currently celebrated superstar in a major exhibition can be felt on "Futurology": Not only instrumentals like "Dreaming A City (Hugheskova)" or "Mayakovsky" are reminiscent of the cool, from German electronic pioneers such as Kraftwerk influenced sound paintings from Bowie important Berlin years.
The atmosphere of the now world-famous metropolis has inspired the guitar rock band Manic Street Preachers to an electronically charged sound. "It gives you the feeling that you can reinvent yourself, everything is possible in Berlin," said Wire. In the song "Misguided Missile" he even includes the German words "Sturm und Drang" and "Schadenfreude".
But proven "manic" qualities are also taken care of on "Futurology" - in angry, punk-influenced anthems like "Let's Go To War" and "Sex, Power, Love And Money", or in gorgeous ballads like "Between The Clock And The Bed ". Here, James Dean Bradfield - as a singer / lead guitarist back in high form and long one of the greats of his guild - shares the limelight with Green Gartside by Scritti Politti, who contributes his typically silky soft androgynous vocals.
Already on the outstanding previous album "Rewind The Film" the Manic Street Preachers had already presented several guest singers with Richard Hawley, Lucy Rose and Cate Le Bon - "Futurology" also wins with its very different voices.
"We still have the huge urge to prove ourselves today," Wire said in a 3sat interview about his band's credo. And drummer Sean Moore said in the Guardian, "We're constantly questioning what we did before and what we're going to do next, we're restless." The new album by Manic Street Preachers exemplifies that a mega-band can still be creative and relevant after more than two decades.