Manic Street Preachers - National Treasures: The Complete Singles

Not so Manic now

According to recent rhetoric
from the always entertaining
Manics camp, this compilation
marks a line in the sand in
terms of their career. (With
typical disregard for economy,
a 70-song triple-album has
already been mooted for their
next project.)

Disc One here sees the
band evolve from self-aggrandising
glam-punk upstarts (Motown Junk, You
Love Us) to sensitive
widescreen rock (Motorcycyle
Emptiness, La Tristesse
Durera), through the brutal
self-examination of The Holy
Bible material before winding
up with the soaring,
contemplative likes of A
Design For Life and Australia.
It’s a near-flawless run of
alternative hits that stands
up to the record of any of
their peers.

Unexpectedly, Disc Two is
where things get
retrospectively interesting, for
better or worse. Their first new
release since achieving the
success they’d spent most of
a decade striving for was the
noble If You Tolerate This
Your Children Will Be Next. It’s
aged surprisingly well: an
understated, brave and
contrary choice of single. This
headstrong urge would further
manifest itself in some
inspired, odd choices (the Joe
Meek-does-Spector of So Why
So Sad) and some clunkers
(awkward potted biographies
The Love Of Richard Nixon and
Let Robeson Sing). Special
mention, too, for the
deliciously gloomy and
undersung There By The Grace
Of God. For the most part,
however, this disc deals in
diminishing returns as Empty
Souls, Indian Summer and
Postcards From A Young Man
bluster by unremarkably.

3 stars 3 stars 3 stars

Sony | 88697946152 (2-CD+DVD)

Reviewed by Jamie Atkins
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