Top positive review
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Another fine album from The Manics
on 21 September 2010
When I first listened to "Postcards" I was a touch disappointed. I was not expecting a repeat of the brilliant "Journal" but even so the initial impression of "Send Away The Tigers" pt 2 left me lukewarm. It all seemed a bit overblown. However repeated listens have allowed details to emerge and the elements to coalesce into a wonderful noise.
The first 3 tracks are polished to a burnished rock gleam, and despite being a bit ridiculous (and the Manics have never been afraid of the ridiculous, thank goodness), are glorious. The album opener "It's Not War..." starts with a lovely, slightly scuffy riff before the strings sweep in like it's 1996. Anthemic and then some.
The title track follows in a similar vein. Whilst railing against the loss of principles the song soars until the defiant coda, ending with "I will not give up and I will not give in." Corny as hell, but wow, they are good at this kind of thing.
"Some Kind of Nothingness" is a fabulously over the top epic ballad featuring Ian McCulloch, choirs and a kitchen sink. Terribly sad yet utterly euphoric.
Things calm down a bit with "The Descent". In fact it sounds a bit tame, a bit sedate. Not bad, just...OK.
I thought Hazleton Avenue was a bit of a stinker on first listen, but I'm liking it more now. The riff is lovely, but the strings are perhaps too much here.
"Auto-Intoxication" is a throwback to an earlier Manics at times with it's choppy guitar and obvious politics. I like it a lot.
"Golden Platitudes" is a graceful and reflective ballad about political betrayal. In the context of this album quite understated.
As is "I Think I've Found It" which has at times an almost 80's indie feel, and a lovely lilting rhythm.
"A Billion Balconies Facing the Sun" is a fine, driving, rock song with a fists-in-the-air chorus and furious JDB guitar, and the caustic "All We Make Is Entertainment" continues the mood. Older and happier with their lives they may be, but The Manics still see plenty in the world that irks them.
"The Future Has Been Here 4 Ever" reminds me of The Stones! Sean Moore's trumpet is lovely, and even Wire's singing is OK.
The album ends with the rousing, aggressive, Google baiting. "Don't Be Evil".
Overall a great album, and one that gets better as you get to know it. There is no-one else around quite like the Manics. They may be easy to mock at times, with their hearts on sleeves politics and sometimes over-the-top style, but this is a triumphant record. I hope they sell shedloads.