Manic Street Preachers shared concert bills this summer in Europe and the U.K. with acts ranging from the Rollins Band to Bon Jovi. The bookings made sense, not just because these Preachers want to convert fans wherever they can, but also because the Welsh band shares both the dark vision of Henry Rollins and the arena-rock appeal of Bon Jovi, with the flair of classic British rockers from the Clash to Queen.
The group's second Columbia Records album, "Gold Against The Soul," already has landed in the top 10 on the U.K. album chart, on the strength of singles such as "From Despair To Where—the title of which gives a pretty good clue to the lyrical tone of the album. The album was released Aug. 24 in the U.S.
"It is quite dark," concedes lyricist and rhythm guitarist Richey James of the vision behind songs like "Scream To A Sigh (La Tristessa Durera)," "Roses In The Hospital," and "Life Becoming A Landslide." But the Manic Street Preachers offset their dire declarations with tough, memorable, and often marvellous pop-rock choruses.
"We still have so much belief in, and are so in awe of, the music," says James, who co-writes the band's lyrics with bassist Nicky Wire. Lead singer and guitarist James Dean Bradfield and drummer Sean Moore compose the band's rock melodies. Building on the buzz created by the band's 1992 U.S. debut, "Generation Terrorists," Columbia has set up "Gold Against The Soul" by promoting "Scream To A Sigh" to college and modern rock radio as well as rock-dance DJs during August, and to album rock outlets in September. Although the band has a retail base at alternative accounts, Columbia hopes to get support from artist-development programs at larger mainstream chains as well. A fall tour is expected.
"We got to be successful in Britain because we played night after night in all these crappy little pubs all across the country," James says. "We have this romantic idea that when we go to America, we could play every night in some bar, working our way all across the country."