Manic Street Preachers – Resistance is Futile
This thirteenth album from the Welsh trio is mainstream Manics, but don't make the mistake of thinking it's not vital in approach.
The music is the only thing that matters with Manic Street Preachers now. There's nothing they can do to surprise, shock or silence the doubters – they're going to be around and releasing new music forever, and those who don't like it will have to lump it. That doesn't mean the music has to be lumpen, though. This is mainstream Manics – think A Design for Life, not Futurology – but don't make the mistake of thinking it's not vital in approach.
Resistance is Futile is another attempt to connect with as big an audience as possible (check out the widescreen and well-worn chord sequences and colours of Vivian and Liverpool Revisited) and brings both the pluses and problems that that ambition acts as a catalyst for. Sequels of Forgotten Wars, for example, sounds like some long-lost yacht rock hit of the eighties, while Hold Me Like a Heaven could have soundtracked any film from that decade starring Molly Ringwald... more John Hughes than Howard Hughes.
The tunes are massive and buried in strings, synths and stacked harmonies, but the subtlety of the lyrics is lost in tunes like the Gary Numan-esque In Eternity and Broken Algorithms' Appetite for Destruction obsession. It's left to album closer The Left Behind to offer a signpost to where the Manics could go next: 'Waiting for the end of time,' as Nicky Wire sings over a steady beat, understated synths, bright guitar and keyboard riffs.
James Dean Bradfield's voice remains as warm as ever and the songs belong on the biggest stages (just as well with an arena tour booked), but there's still middle ground to be found in the distance between the reach and the grasp of this great band.
Listen to: People Give In, Dylan & Caitlin, The Left Behind