Follow-up to 1996's chart-topping Everything Must Go. Named after a line in a speech by miner's son and NHS founder Aneurin Bevan.
It seems a lifetime has passed since the band from a small Welsh mining community – or what would have been if the mines hadn't shut down – made an indie single and released a manifesto declaring their plan to destroy the monarchy, the House of Lords and, after just one album – which would outsell their then-favourite group Guns N'Roses – destroy themselves. Instead, they morphed from political punks (in Clash-style graffitied clobber) via rock martyrdom and Spokesmen For A Lost Generation (Richey Edwards slashing "4 Real" into his forearm) to arena-rock stars, their previous and triple-platinum LP earning them Brit and Ivor Novello awards.
Everything Must Go was a confident, fearless record, informed by the disappearance of guitarist Edwards, who walked out of a London hotel on the eve of their 1995 US tour and was never seen again. The album was a complete turn-around from The Holy Bible, its fragmented, 'fuck-you' predecessor, in a way it was the sound of a band fighting for its life and winning. (This often makes for good stuff. Think of AC/DC's Back In Black).
This Is My Truth, Tell Me Yours – once again recorded in France with Mike Hedges – is different again. This time the mood is less uplifting and air-punching. Mid-tempo ballads predominate. Though choruses still soar (‘You Stole The Sun From My Heart’ was made for arena consumption), the grandiose strings have been toned down – and on ‘My Little Empire’ reduced to a desolate cello – the guitar heroics replaced here and there by quirkier instruments such as sitar and omnichord. The serenity of the melodies coupled with epic build-ups, not to mention James Dean Bradfield's increasingly Freddie Mercury-esque voice, bring Queen to mind on several occasions. Lyrically, though, it couldn't be more different. As well as Nicky Wire's most personal and provocative lyrics ("I wish I had been born a girl and not this mess of a man"), there are songs about the Hillsborough disaster, the flooding of a Welsh village, the Spanish Civil War and Richey. The Manics are still a fine, if somewhat smoothed-down, rock band.