Review: Rewind the Film by Manic Street Preachers

Rewind the Film by Manic Street PreachersRewind the Film is a massive tonal shift from the last Manic Street Preachers album. Granted, Postcards from a Young Man was described by the band as their “one last shot at mass communication”; while that was out-and-out arena rock, this one goes deep into AM-lite territory. The electric guitars are essentially tossed out, replaced by the unplugged stuff, plus some horns and a bit of atmosphere. The record’s a bit like a favorite sweater; it feels worn but warm and comfortable. (The album’s collaborators – Richard Hawley, Lucy Rose, Cate Le Bon – point towards this.) And yet the whole sound is subversive, partly because of what we expect the Manics to sound – those of us who think their best stuff were their rousing anthems in the 1990s – but mostly because the songs in here are still astutely observed, Nicky Wire’s way with words and James Dean Bradfield’s silent yelp elevating what should be, even to me, an album to fall asleep to after a long night. When “30-Year War” closes the album with a more familiar sound, you realize the cocktail-ness of Rewind the Film, with its focus on growing old and dying, is the most subversive of it all. [NB] | 4/5


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