x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

This is a mostly acoustic “meditation on mortality”, according to their bassist and lyricist Nicky Wire.

Manic Street Preachers

Rewind the Film

(Columbia)

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Great rock stars are notoriously reluctant to grow old gracefully, so credit to Manic Street Preachers for suggesting a more dignified way forward. Having initially emerged as make-up-sporting, nihilism-spouting punks, the wordy Welsh trio actively acknowledge the onset of middle age with Rewind the Film, their 11th album. This is a mostly acoustic “meditation on mortality”, according to their bassist and lyricist Nicky Wire, heavily inspired by REM’s morbidly rapturous Automatic for the People. The tone is considerably lighter, however, an uplifting mix of horns, strings, and even hints of Abba on Anthem for a Lost Cause and the deliberately docile opener, This Sullen Welsh Heart. Continuing the vanity-shedding theme, the band cede lead vocals on two songs, letting their folky compatriot Cate Le Bon dominate the jaunty 4 Lonely Roads, while Richard Hawley offers gruff gravitas to the title track – an evocative echo of 1960s film scores. Promisingly relaxed, the record closes with a spiky rant called 30 Year War, so Rewind the Film could well be a rest stop rather than the first stage of a more sedate dotage.

artslife@thenational.ae

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