An Unusual But Welcome Departure From The Norm
The thought of this solo creation from Nicky Wire terrifies me a little, you see Manics fans are notoriously loyal and the emergence of solo work from their idols poses something of a problem as to whether we should squeal with excitement or brush it off as irrelevant to the leopard print cause.
Luckily, 'I Killed The Zeitgeist' is a cool and very much rocking album that kicks the slightly limp numbers from recent Manics' release, 'Lifeblood' to the curb and stomps on it. Nicky's vocals are very much an acquired taste, sounding gravelly and vague in pitch, but this seems to work in his favour, binding the tracks together and adding that little something different and rebellious; after all we loved the Manics because they weren't perfect
Lead single, 'Break My Heart Slowly' is a healthy guitar-based indie tune with malaise bubbling beneath its surface, which is later obliterated by a positive motivational coda, "If your life has changed, if it makes no sense, you can carry if you still belong". 'Withdraw Retreat' has a lairy refrain that reminds you that although Nicky is a feather boa-sporting musician on stage, he's also pretty much like the average bloke that you might meet at the match as this rough round the edges rock pub anthem reminds you. 'Kimono Rock' is another lazy, boozy rock n'roll number kicking off with the cutting line, "The boys in the band they just don't give a fuck", it's a fiercely poignant number two and a half minutes coated in a protective layer of swaying rock to protect its integrity and inspirations.
'Goodbye Suicide' is a humble hymn with a marching drumbeat, repetitive lyrics and simple acoustic guitar intro, thankfully just as it gets a little dull it transforms with a minor melody that stirs your heart and sense of desperation, 'So Much For The Future' proceeds with a similar rugged rhythm before being overcome by feedback. 'The Shining Path' is simply glorious, the chiming guitars grasp at your emotions and Nicky's raw lyrics, "Felt the shining path, breaking bones and shaking hands" further, the overdriven chorus is a little of an anti-climax, but it goes well with the gritty vocals. 'You Will Always Be My Home' is a jaunty stunner afflicted with a slightly fearful guitar part that adds a tense edge.
'Everything Fades' is a regretful closer with clear guitars tingling up and down your spine, tunes like this make the album feel as if it is less about pleasing an audience and more a personal catharsis.
This album may be macho in terms of Manics' usual work, but it still displays the same lyrical intelligence as their classics; 'Bobby Untitled' begins with a Robert Frost line, 'Nicky Wire's Last' with R.S Thomas, while 'Break My Heart Slowly' refers to Dora Maar, Picasso's muse. The mixture of melancholic number that grasp your heartstrings and nonchalant rock is a strange one, especially once you begin to explore the lyrics of the latter and discover that they're not so carefree after all. With such a varied mixture of tracks, it's no wonder that the zeitgeist had to surrender!