Review: Manic Street Preachers – Rewind the Film
Published on September 17th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
It’s fair to say we didn’t hold out much hope for Rewind the Film, the eleventh album by Manic Street Preachers.
Our lack of optimism took into account not only the run of noble yet increasingly stodgy LPs from 2001’s Know Your Enemy through to 2010’s Postcards from a Young Man, but also lead Rewind the Film single “Show Me the Wonder”.
Before we go any further: yes, we liked This is My Truth Tell Me Yours, regardless of how unpopular an opinion that might be among the Manics hardcore (not counting ourselves among said hardcore, we’re not sure if this is still the case).
Perhaps ‘Manics purists’ would have been a more suitable term? Anyway, on with the review.
Upon first hearing “Show Me the Wonder”, Rocksucker was far from impressed; it sounded like music from an advert for fruit juice, with little discernible point other than securing radio play.
It sounded, as we said in our round-up of last week’s singles, like a sad slump into middle age for a once great band. Rewind the Film does indeed sound middle-aged, but we retract the ‘sad’.
Imagine our surprise at being confronted with the tender folk of “This Sullen Welsh Heart” (featuring Lucy Rose), the strikingly poignant “(I Miss the) Tokyo Skyline” and the portentous, White Album majesty of “3 Ways to See Despair”.
The wonderful Cate Le Bon turns up on “4 Lonely Roads”, which is merely pleasant until it goes off on some tremendously unexpected tangents.
Best of all is the title track, on which the earthly croon of Richard Hawley ties together a twinkly melody and elegant string arrangement before it all picks up steam and lets fly with twiddly acoustic lead.
James Dean Bradfield then takes over for extra added lift-off as the drums rumble and crash around the mix in a small cloud, a nifty production touch reconcilable vintage ’60s psychedelia.
Furthermore, the album ends strongly with the beguiling sunset lament of “Running Out of Fantasy” (“Has my fantasy run out of delusion? / Has my fantasy reached its logical conclusion?”) followed by the album’s angriest set of lyrics in “30-Year War” (“The old boy network won the war again”).
Suffice it to say there is nothing here that harks back to Generation Terrorists, The Holy Bible or even Everything Must Go, but Rewind the Film shows Manic Street Preachers to have aged gracefully after all.
Rewind the Film is out now on Sony.
Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!