Manic Street Preachers: From The Holy Bible & Lifeblood to Futurology 2

Manic Street Preachers: From The Holy Bible & Lifeblood to Futurology


The Holy Bible was the last Manics album to feature Richey Edwards before his disappearance and still stands as possibly the highest watermark of their excellence, despite the acclaim and huge popularity which greeted Everything Must Go and its follow up, This Is My Truth.Before the band got bored, went scrappy lo-fi punk with Know Yr Enemy and the 80’s-esque Lifeblood, their supposed nadir and yet a clear signpost sound-wise to the just released new album Futurology. How did that happen? How come people are ready to accept the Manics’ more outre electronic side now when they weren’t before?

manics futurology
For me, Futurology is the perfect blend of the cruelly underrated Lifeblood‘s elegaic sound and The Holy Bible‘s darker, punk and new wave sound palette, and is very possibly one of their best ever albums.

There are quite a few similarities in mood too take for instance the brutality of ‘Let’s Go To War’ or the Kraut glam stomp of ‘Europa Geht Durch Mich’ with Sean Moore’s drumming relentlessly pummeling away on several tracks and James barking the lyrics out in a way not heard since the heady days of 1994’s Bible.

Fast forward to 2014, and after a few albums of obvious anthems and resigned stoicism, the Manics are on unpredictable ground again and sounding freer than ever.

Barring ‘Journal For Plague Lovers’ which was a chance to use Richey’s unused Lyrics and build a companion piece to ‘The Holy Bible’, this is the work of the 3 surviving band members and a stellar cast of all-Welsh collaborators (Green Gartside, Cian Ciaran, Giorgia Ruth etc)

Also striking is the sheer diversity on offer, Sex, Power, Love and Money being one of the most striking examples of early Manics nihilistic sound and fury, but also in the instrumentals which hark back to Lifeblood‘s more serrated textures for instance the crashing polemic thrusts of ‘Black Mirror’ or the punctuated electronic snaps of ‘Misguided Missile’….

So the Manics have blended the best bits of their most praised and criticised eras and made the record of their careers now they have got the Autumnal shades of last year’s Rewind The Film behind them, here is its evil twin, more energetic, more pissed off at the state of the world and yet somehow much more appealing to spend time with despite its obtuseness and curious adherence to an era long gone.
These two albums, separated by two decades are surprisingly a pair after all in the curious way that Radiohead‘s OK Computer and In Rainbows complemented each other beautifully and expanded on lyrical and musical themes years apart, and that my friends, is a quiet kind of genius all too rare these days.

In another exciting piece of related news, the Manics are planning a possible tour playing The Holy Bible in its entirety for the first time, along with tracks from Futurology and their back catalogue. I would love to see live how the tracks from both albums work together, if recent shows are anything to go by, it will be truly stunning, in a post punk electro nihilism kind of way of course.

Bravo to the Manics, still not giving a toss what others think and still kicking against the pricks. Long may they last!

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.