The Manic Street Preachers'

Bittersweet Victory

story and photos*
by Karena Bernard

The Manic Street Preachers are at the pinnacle of success. They are headlining as many festivals as they can fit into their tight schedule, they have the artistic respect of their peers, the media is having a very public love affair with the band and they are seeping into the seemingly impenetrable American market. It's usually at this point that a band splits up a la The Verve and Kula Shaker. Since they have not followed that course, the challenge that The Manics now face is to resist the corporate machinery that turns music into marketable mush such as the majority of the last Oasis CD, BE HERE NOW. (It is worth noting that Oasis did not perform anything from BE HERE NOW at their recent show in Philadelphia.) But bsck to The Manics...

Their silver lining has an ever present dark cloud - one that is slightly ethereal, full of motorcycle emptiness and bursting with gold against the soul. Love's sweet exile has a name and that name is, of course, a very special generation terrorist named Richey James Edwards who has been missing since Valentines Day, 1995.

Richey contributes to inflence new Manic Street Preachers' material in his absence and will always and forever influence the musical efforts of James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire and Sean Moore. The creative life is, at times, a destructive and seductive tragedy begging to be embraced. So, embrace it they have.The mysterious disappearance of Richie is surely at least partially responsible for the emotional depth and power so apparent in the new Manics' sound, that full harmony laced richness that hit us like a giant title wave and made the world stand up and notice the first post Richie release, EVERYTHING MUST GO.

Their latest release, THIS IS MY TRUTH TELL ME YOURS (Virgin), also stands up. It is characteristically new Manics, not too far from EVERYTHING MUST GO. Opener,"The Everlasting", showcases James Dean Bradfield's crystal clear, strong vocals. The BIG sounds of "You Stole The Sun From My Heart", "Ready For Drowning", Nobody Loved You" and the pop-friendly "Tsunami" make THIS IS MY TRUTH... a CD not to be missed. Be warned that you will need to listen to the CD on a programmable player, however, to avoid the word play drag of "My Little Empire" and the boring drone of "I'm Not Working". There is enough good material on here, however to far outweigh the filler.

* (exept for above official band photo and early photo below)


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© TransACTION Magazine 1999