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Something of a return to the old ways, and standards,
This review is from: Know Your Enemy (Audio CD)
The disappearance of Richey Edwards definately transformed the Manics. Their bleak introspective third album The Holy Bible was written shortly before he went, and stands as my favourite. They gained a radio-rock sheen on Everything Must Go, and became massive, undoubtedly helped by the publicity. However, the AOR monster well and truly got them on their turgid fifth album. The non-album single The Masses Against the Classes suggested a return to their melodic yet hard-edged and controversial early days, and the album kinda follows it up.
The album was launched with the unique promotional ploy (should self-styled Communists thinka bout these things?) of releasing two singles on the same day - contrasting choices of the punky, angry Found That Soul and the pleasant if forgettable pop-rock of So Why So Sad. Unsurprisingly, the latter sold better but the former is more highly regarded by the fans.
They saved the album's emotional highpoint, Let Robeson Sing, a truly beautiful number that rises above any of This Is My Truth. My other favourites include Baby Elian, discussing America's condescending role in the Elian Gonzalez issue, the exotic Miss Europa Disco Dancer (trying something different for a change, take note Oasis / Travis / Phonics and other similar dullards) and the subtle Intravenous Agnostic (did anyone else notice the similarity with Feeder's You're My Everygreen? Coincidence?)
There are one or two less likable tracks, Wattswille Blues stands out, and its certainly not full-on punk,a s tracks like The Royal Correspondant, His Last Painting and the mediocre single Ocean Spray show, although the second of those is pretty good.