The new album by the Manic Street Preachers, Send Away the Tigers, is a luxurously catchy, loud, anthemic, passionate, and energetic. After the wintry elegiac pop of their absurdly underrated Lifeblood album, this album will inevitably be described as a "return" to the loud, brash punk of their first two albums (before they created something like the rock equivalent to Paul Celan's poems and Goya's Disasters of War paintings on The Holy Bible and long before the triumphant years of Everything Must Go and This is My Truth, Tell Me Yours).
Send Away the Tigers, aside from being a great album title (all of the Manics' titles are great; think about it) and sporting their best ever album cover, is a riotous joy. Purchasing this album is worth walking through Cardiff streets in the early morning, when winds are blowing off the Irish Sea, while wearing a devil or fairy outfit. The cover actually embodies the tone of this album quite well: Send Away the Tigers is startling in its youthful vigour and zest; there must be a diabolical energy infusing these songs with such fire and life. There have to be, at the very least, Welsh sprites at work.
Songs like "Underdogs," "Indian Summer," "I'm Just a Patsy," and the magnificent title track do recall the Manics' early days, but these songs are much more developed and muscular than anything on the first two albums. There's not a note wasted in these songs; each riff is thrilling, and James Dean Bradfield's voice has never been better. And "The Second Great Depresson," "Autumn Song" and the soul-cleansing single "Your Love Alone is Not Enough" manage to be blazing AND gorgeous. Actually the whole album is like that. Buy it. It's a rock n' roll feast, with much more swagger and soul and memorable melody and loud pogo-ing joy than anything on the new Butch Walker album. Wake up, Atlanta.