Still manic after 18 years

Still manic after 18 years

The latest from Manic Street Preachers, Postcards from a Young Man, is perhaps the most mainstream offering yet from the alternative rock band.

Thought-provoking as ever, the album opens with the string-laden single It's Not a War (It's Just the End of Love). Lead singer James Dean Bradfield proves the band has lost none of its iconic rebellious edge after 18 years in the business, growling the lyrics with melodic aplomb.

He continues through the album with a mix of anger and satirical amusement, whether singing over the heavy guitar riffs of A Billion Balconies Facing the Sun, or gentler piano chords in the mellow Golden Platitudes.

Melodic defiance is a winning formula as the Preachers tackle everything from commercialism to post-modern anxiety. They don't even spare themselves - All We Make is Entertainment is a critical look at the band's own contribution to modern culture.

The usual drums, strings and rousing guitar solos are here, but there is the odd surprise - like the catchy mandola hook of I Think I Found It, and a gospel choir in The Future Has Been Here 4ever.

The Preachers pack a lot into 12 tracks. But it's really Bradfield's ability to carry a tune even while snarling that makes this album thoroughly enjoyable listening.

YP rating: 5/5

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