Manic Street Preachers will always stand for something but just over a decade ago, prior to the making of ‘Send Away The Tigers’, not even the band themselves seemed to know what that was anymore.
On the surface the album may seem a strange one to reissue with a pile of demos, a DVD of their 2007 Glastonbury set and various other goodies. It's not their biggest statement, that would surely go to ‘The Holy Bible’, or their most commercially successful album, that accolade goes to ‘Everything Must Go’.
Previous effort ‘Lifeblood’ received a lukewarm reception and has since been all but disowned by the band, singer James Dean Bradfield in particular. It’s synth-heavy, cold, industrial and is the sound of a band going through the motions.
Something had to change and after Bradfield and bassist Nicky Wire had separated to make solo albums - ‘The Great Western’ and ‘I Killed The Zeitgeist’ respectively – it was time to get the band back together and rediscover what it was to be a strutting, anthemic rock band once more. It wasn’t long until the songs matched the ambition of the re-energised band.
They wanted to be “in a fucking rock band again” as Bradfield put it and it turns out the country wanted them back too.
When ‘Send Away The Tigers’ was released on May 12th, 2007 many floppy-haired, skinny-jeaned, indie landfill bands had watched their stars rise and were quickly falling back to earth with a bump. An exception to this was Arctic Monkeys who released their second effort ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’ the same week as ‘Send Away The Tigers’. The album chart battle showed the Manics could more than hold their own against the young upstarts, though, being pipped to number one by a mere 690 records.
There was also a big hit in lead single ‘Your Love Alone Is Not Enough’, a duet with Nina Persson of the Cardigans although this too was narrowly kept of the top spot - this time by Beyoncé and Shakira's ‘Beautiful Liar’. ‘Autumnsong’ was also a single and is so nostalgic they may well be speaking to their teenage selves.
The Manics had, once against pulled it out of the bag despite the odds being against them. The album was met with generally hailed as a return to form although there were some exceptions with Drowned in Sound calling it a "bloated swansong". By the time of this 10th anniversary re-release they had warmed to the album saying it proved the band "still had clout".
Manic Street Preachers have been looking back a lot recently and with good reason. They now have a 13 album strong back catalogue of which a handful are bona fide classics. There was the angst-ridden Holy Bible 20 tour and the joyous Everything Must Go tour, both supplying more than their fair share of superb memories.
This reissue may see the end of this period of nostalgia for Manic Street Preachers as they have recently relocated to a new studio – dubbed Faster Two after their previous Cardiff studio, Faster, fell victim to gentrification – to record what will be their 13th album and the follow up to 2014's epic ‘Futurology’.
Words: Ealasaid MacAlister
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