Top critical review
Definitely the weakest link in the Manics chain, but still with more than a few highlights!
on 9 September 2016
Yes, it's true, this IS the weakest Manics original studio album, just about beating 'Know Your Enemy,' and the (in my opinion) unfairly maligned 'Gold Against the Soul.'
The Manics aren't a young band anymore, but this was the first album they really sounded middle age, a little out of ideas and at times; plodding. It's not a terrible album by any stretch, most bands would give their musical limbs to be able to call this album their lowest ebb, and it does feature some great songs. '1985,' 'Nixon' and 'Cardiff Afterlife' are all great melodic numbers with brilliant, subtle instrumentation and memorable hooks. This isn't really the first time MSP has delved into the New Wave-ish, subtle, pop-esque world. After all, 'This Is My Truth, Tell Me Yours,' is very close to this album sonically and stylistically, but where they differ is that that album was chock full of massive, memorable anthems, and class. It also lacks the early venom of their earlier material (which is of course, understandable and expected) and you could argue some of their most recent albums have never even bothered the heights of 'Holy Bible,' but unlike those other albums, 'Lifesblood' is decidedly vanilla, and overall, dull.
Still worth buying for Manics' fans, casual fans should listen to it first.