(It's not war) Just the end of love
Opens with a lovely, dirty guitar arpeggio then quickly descends into a very catchy pop song. I say 'pop' rather than rock as the Manics are clearly putting out a very radio friendly song as their first single from the album. Despite this (or because of it), it remains (for me) the weakest song on the album. I doubt it will grow as I've heard it more than any other song at this point. This song is the Manics on autopilot which means it's good, just not great.
Postcards from a young man
This is more like it and gives a better indicator of what the Manics are setting out to do with this album. The song is melodic and accessible while maintaining a creative flourish that really lifts the song into greatness. James' guitar playing is restrained throughout and a lovely melodic riff underpins the start of the song. The verse is driven by piano and the guitar takes a back seat, though when the chorus arrives the guitar once again kicks in and carries the song completely. Strings are used throughout to great effect, the whole song builds to a lovely crescendo.
Some kind of nothingness
Continuing the Manics tradition of cracking duets, Ian McCullough joins in for a lofty, string driven ballad. Although a ballad, schmaltz is thankfully very far away and the chorus is joined by a Gospel choir. Once again we have a melodic, radio friendly song that should certainly be a candidate for a single.
The Descent (Pages 1&2)
The Descent kicks in with a mildly distorted descending guitar chord sequence which seques into the 1st verse as the guitar arpeggios in the background carry the melody. Strings once again appear in the chorus with a gentle, slow drumbeat in the background. It's a hard song to describe, but it's a good song although not quite up with the best on the album.
Now we're cooking! Hazelton Avenue sets it stall right from the off, it's a typically brilliant Manics song with reasonably quiet, melodic verses and the damnedest, most catchiest chorus you've heard in ages. Yep, you'll be walking around singing 'So take me back..... to Hazelton Avenue' just like I am. The chorus is underpinned with another Manics favourite, a guitar riff that uses Octaves and this is part of what helps make the sound of the Manics so unmistakeable. Hazelton Avenue is a great song, wonderfully crafted and manages to get into your head in a way that only great songs can.
Reminds me of their sound during the 'Know your enemy' album. Opens with a catchy guitar riff that bounces along nicely in the background during the verse. A quiet interlude with just keys, vocals and drums merges into the chorus with a punchy, punky guitar riff. One of my favourite songs on the album although I would say this is one of the least radio friendly songs.
Stunning. There are two sides to the Manics; The melodic 'This is my truth' Manics and also the balls to the wall 'Holy Bible' Manics. Let me make it clear, I love both sides equally. It takes both sides to make the Manics who they are. This song could have been lifted straight of 'This is my truth' and has a beautiful, slow beginning that gives way to a verse that gets it's hooks right into you and doesn't let go. 'Where did the feeling go?' asks James. Well, the feeling is right here, this song is just gorgeous and if any song off 'Postcards' is going to take our national radio by storm, it's Golden Platitudes.
I think I've found it
This song really floats my boat. Mandolin (mandolin??!!) opens the song and runs through each verse. Lovely, distorted guitar also peppers the verse strategically and once again we have a knockout Manics song that bristles with personality. Makes your foot tap and the hairs stand up on the back of your neck, THIS is what great music is all about. I think you've found it boys.
A billion balconies facing the sun
Opens with a classic 12 bar blues with further layers of guitar being added (with more distortion each time). The verse builds and then the chorus just crashes through and kicks hard, full of energy and melody. Two guitar solos break the song up, with the second one being absolutely stunning. James is such a good guitar player, always has been and it's really nice to see him let go a little. One of the more energetic songs on the album
All we make is entertainment
The title of the song says it all and this song really does entertain. Classic Manics with slightly a slower, guitar driven verse that breaks into a crunchy chorus you can quite happily bop around to. A song that doesn't take itself too seriously and is all the more fun because of it.
The future has been here 4 ever
Oh no, Nicky sings! Yeah well, we can't have everything can we? Wait though, it's pretty much the best singing he's done and you know what? The song is great. Sean gets his trumpet out (oo-er missus!) for the chorus and James is in full on bluesy guitar mode. A slightly different song to everything else on the album and stands out all the more because of this. At one point Nicky sings 'When I start to break free, it calls me back again. Like the Godfather III, I never can escape'. My favourite line on the album.
Don't be evil
The album ends with another catchy, crunchy guitar driven song. It's a perfect note to end the album and has a similar sound that the Manics had on 'Know your enemy'. Once it's finished, you'll just go back to track 1 and start again.
A stunning album. The Manics are absolute masters of this kind of melodic pop/rock. Last year we got the edgier 'Journal...' album which I adored. 'Postcards' is equally brilliant but in a different way. As I said earlier, there are 2 sides to the Manics and to be honest I don't know which I prefer. I know one thing, if they only went on to do one kind of album from here onwards I would really miss the other. Here's hoping the masses appreciate what the Manics have done here.