On my first listen to the new Manics album 'Futurology', I didn't immediately warm to many of these songs, and felt that the band I fell in love with were barely recognisable anymore. After the second time I played it, all that changed. One thing that takes a lot of getting used to at first is the unfamiliar sound of the occasional guest vocalists. On the stunning 'Between The Clock And The Bed', you could easily be forgiven for beginning to think that the CD has accidentally been mispressed with another artist's track, as Scritti Pollitti man Green Gartside's voice emerges over the relaxed soul groove it slips smoothly into. However, by the time James Dean Bradfield's soaring, life affirming vocal melody arrives near the end, you may very well have fallen in love with another new side of the Manics. And that dazzling, uplifting feeling that shines throughout the song? Look beneath and examine the tortured lyrics, inspired by an unsettling painting by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch which gave the track its name.
As well as movements in new directions, we still get all the things that have always made the Manics great: the incredible tunes, the slogans, the values, and of course Bradfield's magnificent voice. I'll say that these last two albums both stand as their strongest works since the 90s. Reignited once again, with 'Futurology' the Manics have written one of the most interesting chapters in their fascinating and eventful story. Read the full album review HERE.