LAYING down their electric guitars would be little short of heresy for most rock bands.
But that’s not so in the Manics’ case, as this 11th studio album – their first after a three-year hiatus – proves.
They’ve always done stripped-down well, and here they’ve stripped things down and built them up into things of wonder – just not with their usual guitar, bass and drums-based sound.
It’s almost entirely acoustically-based, though some tracks feature a rich variety of instrumentation, from tambourines to full orchestras.
There’s a sprinkling of guest stars too: Lucy Rose on lovely opener This Sullen Welsh Heart, Cate Le Bon on 4 Lonely Roads, and Richard Hawley on the marvellous title track, which, along with Anthem For A Lost Cause, is one of the standout moments.
It’s much more sedate and much more considered than their other albums, and an enjoyable listen precisely because it’s so different. 8/10. GW