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The Manics' Tiger Is Unleashed - South Wales Echo, 1st January 2007

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aJames Dean Bradfield has declared of the Manic Street Preachers' upcoming eighth album, 'I definitely think it's going to be our best album since Everything Must Go.' Send Away The Tigers is due out in the spring and the band have already debuted two of the new songs (I'm Just A Patsy and Autumn Song) live when they headlined the XFM Winter Wonderland last month. The trio (Bradfield, Nicky Wire and Sean Moore) have enjoyed a two year sabbatical from the band while they re-focussed after their poorly received last album Lifeblood and when Bradfield performed at Cardiff University last October he was alive with energy; totally reinvigorated. The passion that was in question has returned with the zeal only Wales' greatest ever band can provide. 'What people can expect from the new Manics album is a bucket load of instinct ingrained into the tracks,' he said, his hand dancing excitedly around a small glass of red wine. 'We haven't thought about it too much or tried to second guess ourselves. 'We've just gone into the studio and played them as naturally as we possibly could with as much aggression and as much grace as we could. 'When we have played a song we haven't tried to delineate it or deconstruct it or whatever, we have just tried to let those songs be. 'We have tried to rely on the way the songs feel and not treat them like naughty kids as we have done previously. 'On Lifeblood we would play a track and say 'that could be done differently'. 'But I think this is going to be an instinctive kind of jubilant rock experience - it just feels great. 'It feels as if we trust in the words and trust in the music and why would we want to mess with that? 'I definitely think it's going to be our best album since Everything Must Go (1996). 'We haven't really trusted our instincts as a band for a long time but this just feels so complete already, so powerful and aggressive. 'It feels like we are doing something new.' With Bradfield and Wire both releasing excellent solo albums during their time away from the band, the frontman believes they have opened up the creative veins of the band again. 'It has freed things up, especially for Nick,' he said. 'I think in a roundabout way we felt that myself writing lyrics for my solo album and Nick writing music for his solo album would open up the Manics, open up the creative process and I think it has so far. 'It certainly has for Nick and he has written one track for the new Manics album that is amazing. 'Nick is much more mused by the Manics already. 'It has worked more for him than for me at the moment but we still have two or three tracks left to write.' The Manics work in a way unusual for most bands. Instead of writing the music and then working a lyric into it, either Wire or former guitarist Richey Edwards would write the poetic, socio-political angst-filled lyrics and then task Bradfield to write the music around it. To that end, Bradfield says he has often found himself as enamoured with their band's lyrics as the worshipping fans. 'Some fans have always felt that the Manics lyrics have had a certain didactic nature to them but what they forget is that sometimes putting music to lyrics I haven't written has been the same experience for me as it has for them. 'Putting music to something like Yes, which is a Richey lyric, there is so much in there I can't really connect with, if I'm honest, that it's a learning experience for me. 'So in that strange way my experience of singing some of Nick and Richey's lyrics has been closer to a fan's experience of hearing them than they think. Nick and Richey sometimes write about the essence of a great notion, an idea extrapolated. 'Nick and Richey are much more comfortable delving into the ether and trying to figure things out for themselves and I'm not quite so confident in dealing with abstracts. 'If I write a lyric for the new Manics album it will definitely stand out but that wouldn't be a bad thing.' My favourite tracks: James Dean Bradfield is promising the new Manic Street Preachers album will be their best since Everything Must Go but where will it rank among their body of work so far. Here Echo's music writer Gavin Allen rates his favourite Manics albums... 1 Everything Must Go The band lost Richey and in that adversity produced a record that will stand the test of time in anthemic beauty and despairing pathos. It's a bigger record than the Holy Bible, epic in aim and execution. Released: 1996 Chart position: 2 Key tracks: Everything Must Go, No Surface All Feeling, Small Black Flowers That Grow in the Sky 2 The Holy Bible The band's magnum opus. It caught them at their most melancholic, aggressive, insightful and graceful. It was written by the classic line-up, James, Nicky, Richey and Sean. A very different record to the one that followed it. Released: 1994 Chart position: 6 Key tracks: Revol, PCP and Faster 3 Generation Terrorists Among of the best debut albums by any British band. It announced them to the world and created absolute fervour for their highly intelligent brand of angst-rock. Arctic Monkeys eat your hearts out. Released: 1992 Chart position: 13 Key tracks: Motorcycle Emptiness, Little Baby Nothing and You Love Us 4 This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours The first album with lyrics exclusively by Nicky Wire. Piggy backing on the amazing success of Everything Must Go it scored them their first number one album. Not quite as epic as it's predecessor but not far off. Released: 1998 Chart position: 1 Key tracks: If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next, You Stole The Sun From My Heart and Tsunami 5 Gold Against the Soul The band has previously described it as their least favourite album for it's unfocussed corporate-driven aims. It may be less politicised but some of the songs are utterly stunning. Released: 1993 Chart position: 8 Key tracks: From Despair To Where, La Tristesse Durera, Life Becoming A Landslide 6 Know Your Enemy It polarises fans and critics alike. Sprawling, disconnected and patchy but occasionally mesmerising. At times it harks back to that early Manics fervour, but not in great enough quantity. Released: 2001 Chart position: 2 Key tracks: Found That Soul, Ocean Spray, So Why So Sad 7 Lifeblood The record that told the band they needed to take a break. Disappointing by their amazingly high standards. Short on inspiration and, for the first time, truly short on great singles. Released: 2004 Chart position: 13 Key tracks: The Love of Richard Nixon, Empty Souls, Cardiff Afterlife