After 12 years and six albums of preaching Marxist rhetoric over a continually evolving sound ranging from the Clash meets Guns 'n' Roses rawk of debut 'Generation Terrorists', to the shimmering Phil Spector-esq 'Everything Must Go', the Manics finally confirm what we all already knew: they know how to write a killer single.
The scope of these songs is breathtaking, the brash punk of 'Motown Junk', the grace and beauty of 'A Design for Life', the 'last great baggy single' AKA 'La Tristesse Durera' and both fantastic number 1's, 'If You Tolerate This...' and 'Masses Against The Classes' demonstrate an incisive, vital band in a league of their own. Who else can claim to have written a chart-topping single about the Spanish Cival War as well as having more Top 40 hits than anyone else in the 1990's?
As well as two new tracks, there are also the hard to find non-album singles of 'Motown Junk', 'Masses..' and 'Suicide is Painless', a cover of the theme from M*A*S*H.
The bit that really sends shivers down the spine, however, is the inclusion of 'the fourth Manic', Missing-In-Action Richey James Edwards on the front sleeve - gone, but by no means forgotten.
This couldn't have been improved upon. The Manics know their place - to quote Nicky Wire, 'Every generation has a defining moment - we are yours.'