Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Review: Manic Street Preachers “Postcards From a Young Man”

RockManic Street Preachers, the acclaimed Welsh trio, has released their 10th studio album, “Postcards From a Young Man”. Being together so long, it is not surprising that the band’s sound has changed a lot over the years –they’ve moved on from the raw, angst-ridden garage rock of their early days. Their recent work has become more polished and accessible, with heavy attention devoted to melody. The band continues to put a premium on high quality lyrics, and “Postcards From a Young Man” is filled with slick production that includes choirs, strings, mandolins, and more. While quite the departure from “The Holy Bible”, if you were a fan of “Send Away The Tigers”, you’ll love the new record.

“Postcards From a Young Man” had me at the first song, “It's Not War Just the End of Love”. The track sets the tone for this more musically mature release, filled with dramatic strings and moving melodies. The vocals are still sung with gusto. The title track is an emotional piece that lays out the theme of this record - looking at life through an aging lens – and it is another over the top effort. The mid-tempo “Some Kind Of Nothingness” skillfully incorporates a gospel-like chorus, which on paper would have been a tough sell for me – but it is very effective and stirring. Ian McCulloch of Echo and the Bunnymen fame guests on this track. The middle of the record stays strong with highlights like the poppy “Auto Intoxication” and “I Think I Found It”. The fast paced “A Billion Balconies Facing the Sun” is one of the strongest cuts, taking the album out to a satisfying conclusion. It was very hard to pick favorites because so many of the songs are truly remarkable.

The early albums from Manic Street Preachers are now the band’s “Postcards From a Young Man”. Their latest CD displays an evolved sound that may alienate fans of their initial work, but we can’t stay young forever. I think Manic Street Preachers is walking tall in their new shoes and “Postcards From a Young Man” is one of my favorite releases by this diverse and talented band.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12

Manic Street PreachersOfficial site.

Check out the video for “Some Kind Of Nothingness”
Manic Street Preachers