IN YOUR EAR
By Stephen Taylor / Daily Yomiuri Staff Writer
THE MANIC STREET PREACHERS
Send Away The Tigers
Sony Music Japan, 2,520 yen
Anyone who has followed the Manic Street Preachers
over the years won't be disappointed with Send Away The Tigers, a strong set of
tunes that may not set new standards in music but promises much for anyone
thinking of going to the Summer Sonic music festival in Osaka and Tokyo in
August, which the band is booked to play.
Send Away The Tigers is the group's first album in
more than two years--not that they've been living a rock 'n' roll existence of
booze and drugs or festering in a recording studio in Switzerland like some self-indulgent
1970s progressive rock outfit.
Solo albums by vocalist and guitarist James Dean
Bradfield--The Great Western--and bassist Nicky Wire--I Killed the
Zeitgeist--were both released in 2006 to critical acclaim.
The break seems to have done them good, with the
single, "Your Love Alone is Not Enough," featuring Cardigans' singer
Nina Persson guesting on vocals, setting a strong pace.
Persson's plaintive vocals complement Bradfield's
powerful delivery very well, and her contribution adds a sensitivity that has
sometimes been missing in Manics songs in the past. If nothing else, should she
ever perform the song live, Wire might not be the only band member wearing a
skirt on stage.
The band's anthemic qualities are once more in
evidence. Bradfield has never been shy of letting rip on his Gibson Les Paul
and his penchant for posturing is there in all its glory on "Autumn
Song," complete with a Guns 'n' Roses guitar riff that borders on parody.
By the end of the next track, "I'm Just a
Patsy," another Spinal Tap-like departure, you'd be forgiven for thinking
the Manics had metamorphosed into the Welsh Motley Crue (or should that be
Strangely, it doesn't appear out of place, merely adding to the variety of an
impressive record with edge and vitality that should keep them real for the
The Boy With No Name
Sony Music Japan, 2,520 yen
From the opening bars of "3 Times and You
Lose" it's clear that it was worth waiting for this impressive collection
of catchy pop from the Glaswegian foursome.
The Boy With No Name finds them in a more positive
mood with the trials and tribulations of domestic life to the fore in vocalist
and songwriter Fran Healy's writing.
Healy has always had a knack for penning great
tunes, and this album is no exception.
The single, "Closer," is a classic
example of the group's slower, more reflective side and though it may lack the
immediacy of old favorites, such as "Why Does It Always Rain On Me?"
or "Sing," if you liked those numbers, you won't be disappointed.
And the good news is that if you buy the Japanese
release, one of the album's bonus tracks, "Perfect Heaven Space,"
finds Travis back to their melodic best.
Like the Manic Street Preachers, Travis will be
appearing at Summer Sonic, and new songs like "Battleships," a
sensitive observation on the ups and downs of relationships, should sit nicely
alongside older crowd pleasers.
In "My Eyes," Healy sings the refrain,
"Welcome in, welcome in," to which one might say to Travis,