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Album Review

Always aware of the import of even their slightest movement, Manic Street Preachers place a lot of weight on their album titles and 2014's Futurology is designed as a conscious counterpoint to 2013's Rewind the Film. That record wound up closing an era where the Manics looked back toward their own history as a way of moving forward, but Futurology definitively opens a new chapter for the Welsh trio, one where they're pushing into uncharted territory. Never mind that, by most standards this charge toward the future is also predicated on the past, with the group finding fuel within the robotic rhythms of Krautrock and the arty fallout of punk; within the context of the Manics, this is a bracing, necessary shift in direction. All the death disco, free-range electronics, Low homages, and Teutonic grooves, suit the situational politics of the Manics, perhaps even better than the AOR-inspired anthems that have been their stock in trade, but the words — crafted, as ever, by Nicky Wire, who remains obsessed with self-recriminations, injustice and rallying cries — aren't the focus here. Unique among Manics albums, Futurology is primarily about the music, with the surging synthesizers and jagged arrangements providing not an emotional blood-letting or call to arms, but rather an internal journey. At times, this is broad, expansive rock & roll, possessed by insistent four-four rhythms unheard in the group's discography, but when the Manics do dip into disco — as they do several times, most prominently on "Sex, Power, Love and Money" and "Dreaming a City" — they're underscoring how they're making music for the head and the heart, not the feet or loins. That's also why Green Gartside is such a welcome presence on "Between the Clock and the Bed": his Scritti Politti managed the divide between radical art and commercial pop, providing a touchstone for the Manics even if they rarely specifically mimic his sound. They're more infatuated with Neu! and Kraftwerk or Public Image Ltd, but these jagged, difficult sounds are filtered through the trio's now instinctual arena-filling gestures and that tension is what gives Futurology a resonant richness. The Manics aren't ditching what they are, they're building upon it and finding an invigorating path into middle age.

Customer Reviews

I'm obsessed

I'm obsessed with this album (in a good way). I've never been a diehard fan, dipping in and out of the Manic's over the years but this is a beguiling effort well worth your time and cash.

Sunshine empathy

The albums not out but for their 12th album they make every band in history look work shy and it's not done with drugs but I imagine slippers and talent. still more important than the top 40. Still the most important band in the uk.

Seems like a pretty good album

Big Manics fan and while 'Rewind the Film' had some really good songs, I did miss the intensity and power featured on all of the previous albums. This album is shaping up to be a terrific return to this style of music. The title track is a fantastic song, with a superb melody and, in my opinion, featuring Wire's best ever vocal. 'Europa...' is another good song, with some good lyrics, and the first single 'Walk Me To The Bridge' is a catchy, powerful, slick song with a very good vocal by JDB. If the other songs are just as good then it will be one of their best albums to date

Biography

Formed: 1991 in Blackwood, Caerphilly, Wales

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Dressed in glam clothing, wearing heavy eyeliner, and shouting political rhetoric, the Manic Street Preachers emerged in 1991 from their hometown of Blackwood, Wales, as self-styled "Generation Terrorists." Fashioning themselves after the Clash and the Sex Pistols, the Manics were on a mission, intending to restore revolution to rock & roll at a time when Britain was dominated by trancey shoegazers and faceless, trippy acid house. Their self-consciously dangerous image, leftist leanings, crunching...
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Futurology, Manic Street Preachers
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