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ARTIST OF THE MONTH: MANIC STREET PREACHERS

June 1, 2020

With a new deluxe edition of seminal second album ‘Gold Against The Soul’ on its way this month, our Artists of the Month for June are the Manic Street Preachers.

There was a telling moment each evening when Manic Street Preachers took to the road last year to celebrate the 20th anniversary of ‘This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours’.

With the first half of the show dedicated to playing their celebrated and award-winning fifth studio album in full, it was the reaction that greeted the encore that caused the eyebrows to raise and the blood to pump excitedly, for here was that familiar jagged riff that ushered in the mighty ‘Sleepflower’.

To hear the opening song to Manic Street Preachers’ second studio album, ‘Gold Against The Soul’, being played in full for the first time in six years, and witnessing the ecstatic response of the crowd, was to be reminded of an album that has never strayed far from the affections of the fans.

So much so, in fact, that Manic Street Preachers have thrown open the vaults to tell the full story of ‘Gold Against The Soul’ with this sumptuous, re-mastered double-CD package. Containing the hit singles ‘From Despair To Where?’, ‘La Tristesse Durera (Scream To A Sigh)’ and ‘Roses In The Hospital’, as well as ‘Life Becoming A Landslide’ – the lead track from the EP of the same name – ‘Gold Against The Soul’ has long remained a fan favourite.

Less overtly political and more introspective than its predecessor, ‘Generation Terrorists’, ‘Gold Against The Soul’ can be seen as a stepping stone for what was to follow with ‘The Holy Bible’, but there is so much more to the album than that. As evidenced by the likes of ‘Yourself’, ‘Symphony Of Tourette’ and the title track, ‘Gold Against The Soul’ is a veritable treasure trove that continues to yield its riches.

But the bounty doesn’t finish there. Displaying Manic Street Preachers’ ferocious work rate is the hoard of quality B-sides that accompanied those original single releases. These include the notorious ‘Patrick Bateman’, the band’s nod to the central character of Brett Easton Ellis’ still controversial satire, ‘American Psycho’, as well as ‘Us Against You’, that sounds almost like a dry run for what was to follow.

And then there are those idiosyncratic cover versions that see Manic Street Preachers take on Happy Mondays’ ‘Wrote For Luck’, McCarthy’s ‘Charles Windsor’ and The Clash’s ‘What’s My Name?’ and make then uniquely their own.

The creation of ‘Gold Against The Soul’ is brought into sharp focus thanks to the presentation of the album in demo form. Unearthed by bassist Nicky Wire, these rare recordings display how Manic Street Preachers had a focused vision of how the album was to evolve. Coupled with Wire’s audio discovery is a tranche of previously unseen photos from that era, as well as original typed and handwritten lyrics from the band’s own archive, and all housed in a 120-page A4 booklet.

Fans have long clamoured for the re-appraisal of ‘Gold Against The Soul’, and their pleas have been rewarded at long last. This is an artifact that not only reflects that precious material contained within in, but also the shifting attitude of Manic Street Preachers themselves. Balance has been restored.

PRE-ORDER HERE

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