Manic Street Preachers - Journal For Plague Lovers

Album Review by Dave Kerr | 23 Apr 2009
  • Manic Street Preachers - Journal For Plague Lovers
Album title: Journal For Plague Lovers
Artist: Manic Street Preachers
Label: Columbia
Release date: 18 May

Billed as a reprisal of their darkest period’s austerity, right down to the repulsive artwork, the Manics Street Preachers’ ninth album pokes open old wounds while celebrating the poetry left behind by the long-missing Richey Edwards. “Tread carefully,” their legion whispers. However, Edwards’ musing on celebrity culture and body dysmorphia frames some of the Welsh trio’s most compelling work since, well, 1994. If you believe this dig to unearth the post-punk venom that permeated The Holy Bible is ‘4 Real’, then it should come as no surprise to find Steve Albini in the studio engineer’s chair with a bag of In Utero spice. That’s not to say the Manics have entirely taken leave of their pop sensibilities, but here the camp bombast of Send Away the Tigers is traded for a melee of barbed mantras, anthemic choruses and post-punk sparsity that might suffer from some first date awkwardness, but suggests that maybe they really were marriage material after all.

Manic Street Preachers play Barrowland, Glasgow on 25 May and T in the Park, Balado on 8 July.