The MANIC STREET PREACHERS have finally recorded another outstanding album

16. September 2021

Manic Street Preachers

Die MANIC STREET PREACHERS haben endlich wieder ein überragendes Album aufgenommen

By his own admission, one of the primary sources of inspiration for the new Manics opus "The Ultra Vivid Lament" was the Swedish quartet ABBA, whose melodies songwriter James Dean Bradfield has always held in high regard. He thinks there's hardly a better setting than this to package the band's socially critical messages in a way suitable for the masses ..

eclipsed: You recorded "Even In Exile" last year, a solo album about Chilean folk singer Victor Jara, for which lyricist Patrick Jones, the brother of your Manics bandmate and lyricist Nicky Wire, wrote the lyrics. Did the album pave the way for the new Manics work?

James Dean Bradfield: It was actually the case that Patrick wrote a cycle of poems about Jara as a finger exercise, actually just for himself. I came across the poems rather by chance, and then the idea germinated in me to delve deeper into the Chilean singer-songwriter. I was enthusiastic about the lyrics, and so I thought I should make a solo album out of it - rather on a small flame, as a project of the heart. It was only released on a small label. And yes, I composed for the solo album mainly on the piano, and I did the same for "The Ultra Vivid Lament", that's probably why the atmosphere is so heavy, comparable to "Even In Exile". The lyrics, however, are as always by Nicky, and there are very personal songs on it.

eclipsed: The epic opener "Still Snowing In Sapporo" is one of them. A melancholic reminiscence of the Japan tour in the early 90s ..

Bradfield: Nicky wrote a lot on this album from his subjective memory. I myself have an extremely sketchy memory, I forget a lot of things, whereas Nicky says he still has things that happened almost 30 years ago in great detail in his mind's eye. It's a very surreal experience when we talk about it, as we were both there. However, Nicky is aware that his memory is setting traps for him, and he plays with that, especially in this song

eclipsed: In some parts of the album you try harder than ever to capture the listener with sugary sweet melodies and then deliver a merciless inventory of the present. Especially "Don't Let The Night Divide Us" is really perfidious in this respect. In this context you also mentioned ABBA as an inspiration..

Bradfield: That's right. But if you take ABBA out of it, is it that new? Haven't socially conscious bands always captured listeners with catchy melodies? Take The Smiths, take The Clash, numerous classic acts try to get their message across to the listener in the catchiest way possible. But yeah, maybe we overdid it a bit with the song you mentioned....

Read more in the current issue ...