Manic Street Preachers’ new album sounds like “The Clash playing Abba”.

The Welsh indie trio spent two weeks recording their upcoming 14th LP in Rockfield studios in Wales earlier this year and although lockdown measures meant it was a different process to what they’re used to, they’re very happy with the record because it boasts “miserable lyrics and great pop”.

Speaking to MOJO magazine, bassist-and-songwriter Nicky Wire said: “I recorded my entire f***ing bass parts with a mask on.

“But it’s the most rehearsed we’ve ever been for an album.

“The catchphrase was ‘like The Clash playing Abba’ – The Clash when you felt they could play in any style.

“It’s quite a subtle record. There are, always, guitars, but it’s very restrained for us, and really tasteful.

“It’s the usual thing, miserable lyrics and great pop.”

The ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’ hitmakers knew they were going to record a “good record” when it snowed on their first day at the studio.

Frontman James Dean Bradfield said: “It was snowing. And when the first snowflake came down and you wake up to a beautiful blanket of snow, it was, ‘Yeah, this is going to be a really good record.’ “

And the pair – who is also joined in the band by drummer Sean Moore – admitted the coronavirus pandemic had an influence on the songs.

James said: “I had a very smug idea of how I saw the world, but I’ve realised I’d undervalued absolutely everything in my life.

“I think that’s what the album became about.

“That’s what the music did, it found a way out of lockdown.”

Nicky added: “There’s a lot of exploring the internal galaxies of the mind on this album, and understanding.

“It didn’t feel like the right time for spite. It’s more internalised, bathed in a comforting melancholia, rather than a self-defeating one.

“I certainly feel like these are some of the best words I’ve ever written.”