Stealing The Sun From Your Heart Once More
Stronger and more relevant than ever, 'Send Away The Tigers' is the result of a band that wandered in the wilderness for a few tentative years, produced an album of wafty pop, went on to make successful solo albums and then once woke from their happy daydreams to the bloody minded world around them. Witness liberating guitar solos, vocals full of vital energy and a return to the rawness that we always loved in this band, although they may not be getting any younger, Manic Street Preachers maturity is hardly jading their incisive lyricism or musical wit.
The undoubtedly poppy first single, 'Your Love Alone Is Not Enough', is an unwise indicator of the material on this album, although a good radio tune with Cardigans singer Nina Persson's sweet vocals paired perfectly with James Dean Bradfield's rough tones. It has the same light and carefree bounce as a lot of the singer's solo album; no bad thing but there's far better to come from 'Send Away The Tigers'.
Dissatisfied and politicised, this is the Manics that we know and love, title track, 'Send Away The Tigers' is a protest tune with raw vocals snarling through the sweeping chorus crescendo; if there's one thing the band have mastered on this album it's building anthems that peak at a staggering chorus, knocking you off your feet. There are plenty of reasons why gritty call to arms, 'Underdogs' was distributed free to fans: the vicious lyrics, "This one's for the freaks, people like you need to fuck, need to fuck people like me"; the pummelling drums and the blazing guitar solos that lash out like terrified tigers are just a few. The recent material has perhaps been disappointing to lifelong fans because the music felt contented, as if it had nothing to prove, indeed with a lifetime of success the Manics no longer need to prove anything to anyone, but there's no one more demanding than a dedicated fan. Thankfully 'Send Away The Tigers' is full of enough rage to satisfy even the most critical, with 'Underdogs' and the thumping, furious, 'Imperial Bodybags', with its vitriolic cry of, "Driven by hypocrisy", amongst the most stark examples.
'Indian Summer' has an epic feel with lucid strings washing over the rippling guitars and insistent drum pulse. 'Rendition' has a staggering pace that will no doubt have you screaming the simple rallying lyrics, "Rendition, rendition, blame it on the coalition" out loud. One definite stand out is the stunning, "I Am Just A Patsy", a triumphant tune with sharp vocals that will get tangled in your head for days; "I am just a patsy, I sell fake conspiracy" cries the forceful refrain. Closer, 'Winterlovers' is a fine note to end upon; a fierce chorus leads into a blistering centre stage guitar solo, spelling out the band's rediscovered rapturous sound. Welcomed by fans with nervous anticipation, 'Send Away The Tigers' is a relief and sees the band at the top of their game, challenging the world with their riotous rock music.