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MANIC STREET PREACHERS 'Postcards From A Young Man'

[Released Monday 20th September 2010]

12-track CD I Special 24-track 2-CD Set I Deluxe Boxset I 12-track Vinyl LP

Most bands
don't get to their tenth album. Mercifully. By then, the youthful brio, the wit,
the desire, the flair, the fun, the zeal and commitment have usually all
evaporated to be replaced by self-loathing, disappointment and the sour taste of
promise unfulfilled, or the deadening torpor of sanctified elder statesman
status and the moth-eaten trappings that go with it; the Lifetime Achievement
awards, the Rock and Roll Hall of fame, the box set that looks suspiciously like
a coffin. Familiarity has bred contempt, old friends have become strangers,
laurels are rested on and the hits of prehistory dusted off for the Greatest
Hits tour, the divorce settlements, the tax bill.

Ten albums
into their life's work, it would be wrong to say that the Manic Street Preachers
are raging against the dying of the light. Because the light has never burned
brighter or with a fiercer clarity. 'Postcards From A Young Man' comes after the
acclaimed 'Journal For Plague Lovers', a record of steely intent and corrosive
power on which every lyric was taken from the final folder of work left by
former member Richey Edwards just prior to his disappearance in 1995. That album
in turn was a typically stark and startling follow-up to 2007s triumphantly
resurgent 'Send Away The Tigers', an album that gave new heart to their global
faithful and introduced the band to new countries, new audiences, new
possibilities.

Before those
are a canon of albums, singles, shows, gestures, interviews, wisecracks,
manifestos and the occasional outfit that have made The Manics the most
interesting, intense and inspirational band of their generation. From the
headlong didactic samizdat fury of their debut 'Generation Terrorists' to the
operatic proletarian grandeur and pride of 'Everything Must Go' to the harrowing
austere complexities of 'The Holy Bible', the Manics have empowered,
entertained, enraged, endured the worst and reached for the
best.

'Postcards
From A Young Man' may be their best yet. Or if that seems like heresy (and it
even does to me), then let's say it is right up there with their best. A very
different record than, say, 'Journal For Plague Lovers' or 'The Holy Bible', it
stands not in contradiction to those cold masterpieces but in concert with them.
Defiantly, unapologetically bold and forthright and communicative, it makes the
head swim with both the thrill of its tunes and its theories (always a heady
Manics mix) and burns with that raging melancholia that has always been unique
to them.

The Manics
still believe in the power of art to transform and liberate, and, devalued and
traduced though it is, they still keep faith with their favoured corner of it,
the mongrel infant called rock and roll. As passionate and engaged as they are
with politics, art, poetry, philosophy, film, sport and literature, they still
believe there is something important, privileged, noble even about the mass
platform and potency of the rock band, whatever the naysayers and experts think.
"It would never occur to me" says James "to comment on the economics of the art
world or of publishing, I wouldn't lecture someone who thatches roofs about
their industry. And yet every news programme and business correspondent is
always giving his expert opinion on the music business and how it's finished. It
drives you to write. This faint notion that you're defending the art".

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