Send Away The Tigers 10 Year
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Send Away the Tigers: 10 Year Collectors Edition
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Manic Street Preachers’ eighth studio album, Send Away The Tigers, enjoys its 10th anniversary this year and to celebrate they are releasing a special edition 2CD/1DVD folio bookset. Includes the original album remastered by James Dean Bradfield, unheard demos, a bonus disc of b-sides and rare tracks plus a DVD of their full 2007 Glastonbury set, promo videos and rare/never-before-seen footage from rehearsals. Nicky Wire has also contributed handwritten lyrics and imagery from his personal archive.
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The real goodness begins with the demo tracks. Hearing the songs in their early stages is a joy to listen to, especially with James awkwardly trying to fit in the original lyrics. Despite its disappearance from the album line-up, Underdogs pops up in demo form, which sounds almost identical to the finished version, just not as 'produced'. I might be wrong, but at a guess I would say this is the take they used for the end product. Other highlights from the demo songs are definitely the 60's jangle version of Your Love Alone Is Not Enough, which is a breath of fresh air to hear the track performed like this. It definitely possesses a feel-good, summery vibe. Indian Summer meanwhile, which is a rough home recording on a cassette tape, begins with James stating that 'This is Indian Summer, the capo is on the 7th fret', which makes you realise how close you are to the gestation period of the music. Another interesting demo is that of I'm Just A Patsy, with just James on his acoustic. It only clocks in at 1 minute 51 seconds long and is extremely raw, but hearing him cough up a lung after singing the chorus is slightly amusing.
The second disc is jam-packed with endless quality, and as always, makes you wonder why some of the tracks were relegated to b-side status. It's always been the case with the Manics, but thankfully they're now presented here in one place to be enjoyed. Opening track Leviathan only ever featured on a charity album, so having this among the collection is a welcome addition. It's followed by their first-rate 2008 cover of Umbrella, which for me, is way better than the original. It has that Manics quality to it throughout, not to mention some amazing guitar work from Mr Bradfield. I'm pleased to see the inclusion of their Christmas track, Ghost Of Christmas, which they released as a free download to fans at the end of 2007. It's just a bit of harmless fun, made as a homage to the huge sing-along songs that we're so familiar with. It's upbeat, incorporates great guitar work, is catchy, and even has Christmas bells in there – what's not to like about it? Personally, I've always loved it, it's very festive. The b-sides from the 2007 period were indeed some of the best from the band's career, from the rip-roaring Boxes And Lists to more mellow stripped down offerings such as 1404, which really allows James Dean Bradfield to delivery some haunting beautiful vocals. A highlight is another version of Your Love Alone Is Not Enough, with Nina Persson taking over the entire vocal duties. However, for me, one of the greatest pieces of music MSP have ever delivered is an instrumental track entitled The Vorticists, which pounds along with almost hypnotic, majestic beauty.
The DVD comes with the full Glastonbury set from 2007, which I was eager to see, as the BBC only ever aired 30 minutes of highlights a decade ago. The crowd are still, on the whole, your typical miserable Glastonbury bunch who would look more at home at a funeral procession. The band are enjoying themselves (although Nicky looks a little moody at times), while the set list is varied and covers all of their albums to that point, all except for poor little Lifeblood (which in its own way, is an amazing album). Some of the camera work is somewhat annoying - while James will be doing an amazingly intricate guitar solo, the fools at the BBC decide it's far more interesting to focus on something (like a balloon on one occasion) far off in the distance and spending ten seconds zooming out before we're back with the band. Under the extras come the music videos for the three singles, including both cringe-worthy versions of Autumnsong. I can never decide which version is worse, but the band definitely did not like the record company's version, so got a laughable (perhaps it was made as a joke?) version made that only contains the two girls from the album cover in a white environment, miming rather badly and looking like animals caught in the headlights. The making-of Your Love Alone Is Not Enough is interesting, which has input from the band (even Sean speaks!), Nina, and film makers. It's just a shame about the picture quality, although it's nothing to worry about. There's an insightful track-by-track video with the band, which sadly isn't a new recording as I'd hoped for but interesting nonetheless, and some rehearsal footage (which I believe surfaced online at the time it was filmed, albeit in slightly lower quality).
Overall, I can highly recommend this set. It comes in a book format that houses the three discs, and the artwork and printings of Nicky's original lyrics are a joy to behold. It's fascinating to read the unused words, but then when you go back to the demo tracks and hear James struggling to fit them you understand why they were chopped. At the time I ordered this, the price was £18.46, which is money well spent on a quality box set. Full marks.