Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Album review: MANIC STREET PREACHERS - Futurology

Highlights: Futurology, Let’s Go To War, The Next Jet To Leave Moscow, Divine Youth


The presentation is good. The cover looks lovely and the slight (very slight) stylistic change is welcome. Like any other album by the Manics, Futurology is an engaging listen. Nicky Wire is going through this never-ending state of self-parody (“Black Square” won’t fool anyone), but who cares anymore. James Dean Bradfield can still write a tuneful anthem in his sleep. The addition of a few friends, deplorable though it is, actually works. All nice and good. Let’s face it though: Rewind The Film had better songs.

Two good albums in two years sounds like a true feat by today’s standards. Futurology cuts down on last album’s relative melodic subtlety and goes for something more propulsive and immediate. It has a clever electronic twist to it and a certain post-punk edge. As they say, what’s not to like.

Well, if you let The Holy Bible day slip by like I did – nothing. Nothing at all. “Futurology” is a great statement of intent. The ‘nice marching song’ “Let’s Go To War” is either completely ridiculous or a classic. “The Next Jet To Leave Moscow” (note the lyrical pattern) is Bradfield’s effortless melodic brilliance that manages to survive on pretty much the same chord progression all the way through. “Sex, Power, Love and Money” is complete fucking bullshit, but I almost don’t mind if it follows the beautifully written, elegantly arranged, Georgia Ruth-sung ballad “Divine Youth”. Side two is not as bright. “Dreaming A City (Hughesovka)” is a decent instrumental, but a city is the city and the city is Donetsk – so it doesn’t have to be great. What follows may be a bit spark-less (“The View From Stow Hill” is sub-par), but God knows I’m pleasantly surprised to hear Green Gartside’s voice in “Between The Clock and The Bed”. 

Otherwise – German singing, “Helter Skelter” and Malevich. Good album. Note though that Luke Haines did this kind of thing back in 2009 and did it better. Also, Nicky Wire should have written lyrics for “Mayakovsky”. I feel a little short-changed.  

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