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The Ugly Face Of The New Art Riot - Melody Maker, 7th April 1990

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Title: The Ugly Face Of The New Art Riot
Publication: Melody Maker
Date: Saturday 7th April 1990
Writer: Bob Stanley


"There's too many beautiful people around. We want to be ugly."

Manic Street Preachers are young, angry and loud. And, with their "butchered" hair (no expensive styling here y'see) they don't look overly beautiful. They are from Blackwood, South Wales ("A soul-destroying place, we'd rather say we're from Europe"), and all are teenagers except for singer James who feels hugely guilty about having turned 20. Their music comes in two-minute spurts of red raw energy. "We were too reverential when we started," explains guitarist Richey, "but we transcended that. We're killing off our punk links. No more concerts with Mega-City Four! They're supposed to be diamond geezers but they hated us - they just represented apathy."

Manic Street Preachers, on the other hand, had the enthusiasm to record the first two songs they ever wrote and release them on a single last summer. "Suicide Alley" was a fair-enough Clash understudy, but the attitude was spot on. "You make mistakes when you're young because you're young. At least you can't put it down to over indulgence."

There was no arsing around for five years working on a follow up - with their Christmas giros they recorded a new demo for the princely sum of £60. And with this barely repressed energy threatening to topple over and crush melody at any given moment, "Repeat After Me" is monstrously good. Like the skeleton idea of Birdland flesh out with real ideas and real songs.

Richey: "I think Birdland prove people want real adrenaline on stage. But what they fail to see is that even basic rock 'n' roll is about politics. On stage we try to energise not anaesthetise..."

Banding about phrases like "New Art Riot", "Auto Destruction", "The Extreme Sense Of Now", Manic Street Preachers carry a ferocious spirit that Richey reckons will whisk them away from the dead pits of South Wales and into the charts within a year.

"Everyone likes Happy Mondays cos, when the working class dance, it means nothing changes except prole fashion. The Stone Roses seems to understand the working class but only in interviews. No one is speaking for people like us."

The essence of working class assault? Eyes peeled for these boys.