Manic Street Preachers: Futurology

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Artist: Manic Street Preachers
Genre: Rock
Label: Sony

Last year's Rewind the Film was supposed to be a double album but realising that they had two entirely different sets of songs, Manic Street Preachers wisely decided to bring the more introspective acoustic songs out first and keep the arty, European songs for this collection. Part recorded in Berlin's famed Hansa Studios, Futurology nods respectfully to 1970's Krautrock and channels early Simple Minds (when they were actually good).

The first single, Walk Me to the Bridge, has all the sparkle of and vigour of Generation Terrorists – a synth-driven stomp that lyrically sounds like it's a lament for Richie Edwards but is actually about a morose Nicky Wire crossing the Oresund Bridge and contemplating breaking up the band.

Let's Go to War also has a Teutonic feel while The Next Jet to Leave Moscow treats of their jaunt to Havana and the controversy it caused. As with the last album, there are a number of collaborations here – most notably with Scritti Politti's Green Gartside on the meditative Between the Clock and the Bed (named after a Munch self-portrait) and Welsh singer Georgia Ruth on the sombre Divine Youth.

The album's centrepiece is Europa Geht Durch Mich (Europe Goes Through Me) which sounds like Sally Bowles fronting Einsturzende Neubaten, the Krautrock artfully enhanced with choruses handled by the German actress Nina Hoss.

An enthralling collection which sees the band – 12 albums in – ploughing a new furrow and finding new musical vistas, Futurology may not be one of their most chart-friendly albums but on tracks such as Sex, Power, Love and Money they've got the Gold against their Soul once again.

Not everything gets into gear as it should and Wire’s erudite lyrics do trip themselves up at times but that’s a minor complaint given the bluster and bravado on display here.

On Rewind the Film they returned to the Welsh valleys and sounded like they had gone all pastoral and mid- life crisis on us. But here they are zipping along the Autobahn finding themselves once again condemned to rock 'n' roll.

Brian Boyd

Brian Boyd

Brian Boyd, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes mainly about music and entertainment