To celebrate 21 years since the release of their first single, Blackwood's Manic Street Preachers are releasing the second compilation of their career (following 2003's 'Forever Delayed'), comprising of 38 singles. The album will be promoted with a one-off show at the O2 Arena on December 17.
Loosely running in chronological order, this collection is a master-class of rock songs from a band that has been consistent for over two decades. From the frantic 'Motown Junk' to the classic 'Motorcycle Emptiness', older songs have comfortably stood the test of time, whilst softer moments such as 'La Tristesse Durera (Scream To A Sigh)' and 'Roses In The Hospital' have kept their charm. By the time the Manics achieved great commercial success they had effectively incorporated the use of strings, with 'Design For Life' remaining one of their most potent anthems, but the themes of their songs remained hard-hitting, such as the Spanish Civil War-inspired 'If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next'.
The popularity of the trio remained high at the turn of the millennium, 'The Masses Against The Classes' reminding everyone they could still produce a huge rock tune, and the appearance here of 'Empty Souls' from 2005 is like rediscovering a forgotten keepsake. Nina Persson of The Cardigans appearance on 'Your Love Alone Is Not Enough' is everything a collaboration should be, whilst '(It's Not War) Just The End Of Love' displays the band continue to thrill in their most recent work. The only gripe with this album is that new material is limited to an enjoyable cover of The The's 'This Is The Day', rendering the release nearly pointless for diehard fans. For anyone else with an interest in British rock music, then it is an essential insight into one of the premier bands of recent times.