The lead-up to Manic Street Preachers’ latest work, Futurology, came with a slew of dizzying announcements: sessions at Berlin’s world-famous Hansa studios, a variety of guest vocalists and the return of The Holy Bible producer Alex Silva. 

Now the results are in, all expectations have been shattered. Fact is, this album is far and away greater than the sum of a few attention-grabbing parts. Written during the same sessions that produced last year’s Rewind The Film, Futurology – instead of sounding like leftovers – is the Manics’ most monstrous and urgent record in years. The delivery on ‘Europa Geht Durch Mich’ is icy and direct, aided by German film star Nina Hoss who swaps choruses and verses with James Dean Bradfield. ‘Let’s Go To War’, with its blend of Eno-like cavernous/claustrophobic synths, is the sound of reawakened synopsis.

 

Much of Futurology was conceived as far back as 2007 on a European tour during which bassist/songwriter Nicky Wire was on the verge of leaving the band. Over time these songs were developed into “13 good reasons to not give up”. 

 

Futurology is one last look back on a forward march into the band’s real future, which is looking and sounding brighter than ever.

 

4/5.

Futurology is out now through Columbia / Sony.

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