I have many beautiful memories of Manic Street Preachers songs. The whole Everything Must Go album was a long-time-companion for my inline-skating trips. If You Tolerate This… reminds me of my round trip through Ireland, and The Everlasting of another shopping tour through London. After hearing Motorcycle Emptiness for the first time, I have been driving miles and miles from record shop to record shop to get hold of Generation Terrorists (this was before the time when buying a CD was only One Click away…). And so the list goes on… you see, I really like those Welsh lads!
So today sees the arrival of singer James Dean Bradfield‘s first solo album, The Great Western. I only learned a few weeks ago that he was releasing this, and once I’ve heard the first single, That’s No Way To Tell A Lie, and read some positive critics, some inner voice told me to pre-order the album. And for myself I was thinking that it will hopefully turn out better than Nicky Wire‘s solo effort…
Only a few minutes into the album, I knew I was on the safe side. No unnecessary experiments, no disturbing electronica, just good old plain rock music. The overall feel is a very down-to-earth one, with lots of songs transporting a kind of 60ies vibe. There are a few potential singles on The Great Western as most of the songs have very catchy choruses and also some distinctive trademarks like handclaps and background-choirs that will make you recognize the song immediately. All of it is held together by Bradfield‘s great voice and some fine lyrics, be they political or just taken out of everyday situations.
I’m just in the middle of the second spin of The Great Western, but I can already say that it is a damn fine album. If you thought the latest Manics album, Lifeblood, was too poppy, then you will be pleased with Bradfield‘s solo effort. It is definitely not a Manics album, but there’s a sparkle here and there that lets you know where the roots of the singer lie. James Dean Bradfield shows that he is still a brilliant singer and songwriter, and I can now look forward to the next Manics album a bit more relieved.
That’s No Way To Tell A Lie (MP3)
An English Gentleman (MP3)