Three British Socialists Discover Berlin - Die Welt, 1st July 2014
By Reiner Reitsamer
On their new album "Futurology" want the Manic Street Preachers from Wales again be as loud and wild as 20 years ago. They become entangled between past and future.
Rushed runs the young woman through Berlin. Your phone is ringing. "Upper tree bridge in 15 minutes," says a man's voice. "Who are you?" Asks the woman. No reply. You must continue, the clock is ticking. On the upper tree bridge waits for a mysterious figure. It represents the young woman in front of a choice: love or hate? The woman chooses love and is sent on.
Next stop: Elsenbrücke. There she has to make a decision re: beauty or truth? Beauty. Skip to Moeckernbruecke. Past or Future? The young woman runs and runs forever. Passing the Brandenburg Gate, past the Reichstag. In a hangar at Tempelhof Field the scavenger hunt ends. There, the woman finds a black box with the inscription "futurology".
This is the plot of "Walk Me To The Bridge", the actual music video for the Manic Street Preachers . What's in the box remains a mystery. Maybe the whole thing is a metaphor for the emergence of new, twelfth album of the band. During the recording of "Futurology" were the three Welsh probably face similar policy decisions as the woman in her video. In particular, the question of past and future is the Manic Street Preachers never go.
Serious as it gets
It's been almost 20 years since their guitarist Richey Edwards disappeared from one day to the next. His car was later found at the Severn Bridge into Wales. From him there is still no trace. Edwards was a self-destructive young man, an androgynous poet. What he lacked in musical talent, he made up for with charisma. Once, a journalist of the "New Musical Express" he asked the question, how serious was the Manic Street Preachers with their music. Edwards then grabbed a razor blade and cut himself before the eyes of the interviewer "4 real" into the forearm. It seemed to him very seriously.
In those early days, when the Manic Street Preachers-influenced by Guns N 'Roses first glam rock band and later a punk band were, Edwards played an important role. He was the optical figurehead, he gave them an air of unpredictability. Following Edwards' disappearance, the future of the Manic Street Preachers was uncertain.
But James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire and Sean Moore went on. The three of them published trendy plates, such as "Everything Must Go" and "This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours", which at the height of Britpop became bestsellers. It was found that the true key figure in the band Bradfield, whose idea of inexhaustible supply of great melodies of the reason why today, soon are the Manic Street Preachers 30 years after its inception, still.
Without yesterday no tomorrow
And yet it seems as must still fight against the legacy of Richey Edwards and re-prove with every album the band. "Old songs leave long shadows", James Dean Bradfield sings in "Walk Me To The Bridge". The burden of the past weighs heavily. A topic that already ran through the last plate "Rewind The Movie". Bradfield refrained from doing almost entirely on distorted guitars, in the texts it was about getting older: "How I hate middle age, in between acceptance and rage", sang Bradfield.
That was the musicians but goes in little rock 'n' roll. "Somehow, we have begun to rebel against ourselves, when we wrote the songs," says Bradfield recalls. That's why they started to work simultaneously on another, wilder album: "Futurology", which is now one year after "Rewind The Movie" appears.
Betrayed Even the title, how different are the two plates: While "Rewind The Movie" looked back, wants "Futurology" look to the future. "Let's Go To War," chanted Bradfield in one of the key songs. It is a movement order of four quark Mitt to yourself not to be comfortable. The Manics want to be loud and politically again, as once at her angriest album, the large work "The Holy Bible" of 1994. The way forward should a fortiori lead back over the past.
But to play louder does not automatically mean to sound younger. In "Rewind The Movie" was not rocked, engaging the plate was anyway. "Futurology" acts with his guitar solos bloodless and insipid. The production of Alex Silva, who has recorded the album in Berlin's Hansa Studios with the band, it makes it worse. Almost every song is stifled by synthesizers.
Splash of color gets album of guest musicians: Scritti Politti-singer Green Gartside can be heard on "Between the Clock and the Bed", the best piece of the plate. "Divine Youth" adorns the fragile voice of Welsh singer Georgia Ruth, and Cian Ciaran from Super Furry Animals playing on "The Next Jet to Leave Moscow" Keyboard. And then there's Nina Hoss. In strict German Theatre, the Stuttgart actress sings "Europe goes through me" . It sounds as if the Manic Street Preachers, the "Pirate Jenny" covers.
That the band in their late phase is still very much able to pick up great plates has "Rewind The Movie" proved. All you lack is the courage to rest. And the willingness to let bygones be bygones.