Label:Columbia Release date: 18/05/09 Website: Manic Street Preachers Buy: Amazon All I've heard from people about Journal for Plagued Lovers is that it's the Holy Bible Vol II, the New Testament if you will. There are obvious reasons why this would be the case. Richey Edward's last collection of lyrics written before his disappearance have been put to music after sitting in waiting since '94 and the whole recording style and idea of the album seems to capture their previous post punk edginess. It's never going to have the same impact of The Holy Bible because so much has been and gone, things are just different now and no amount of hype will change the fact that these guys don't wear half as much make up and have been bordering on dad rock for a long while now... There is a happy freak accident on the opener Peeled Apples, once the chorus kicks in you realise it sounds exactly like the melody from Heaven 17's Temptation. This guarantees that if you whistle the tune throughout the day (like I have been), people are going to think you are a Heaven 17 fan. Thankfully I am. Despite this, I think the song is a cracking start. It's spikey and a bit angry but ever so catchy. Jackie Collins Existential Question Time reminds me a bit more of what the year is. A nice, radio friendly tune, but not really possessing the urgency and the rawness of the past. The same goes for Me and Stephen Hawking, this one is 90's Manics by numbers and won't be missed if you skip it. The title track is Manics doing Foo Fighters, or maybe Foo Fighters heard it there first who knows. Albini's dead simple and clean method of production is evident on this track, a place for everything and everything in it's place. Through the record there a couple of ballads This Joke Sport Severed and Facing Page: Top Left that are kind of superfluous to the whole deal, in fact, if you cut these and the couple of more commercial Manics type tracks out, you would have a Punchy, catchy, angsty wonderfully produced volume of work. The closing track, William's last words is a creepily poignant set of lyrics sung by a wobbly voiced Nicky Wire to a fantastic acoustic/lounge music backing. The comedy element of this song is replaced with a bit of a lump in the throat when you realise that these words were intentionally left behind by Edwards for his bandmates Until we leave tonight Hold me in your arms Wish me some luck as you wave goodbye to me You're the best friends I ever had Dealing with someone's legacy in a cool and fitting way is never easy, and it's been done horribly in the past with others (Jeff Buckley's posthumous album springs to mind) Journal for Plagued Lovers is fitting tribute after all this time and full of something genuine, I think they've done bendigedig as us welshies say... Rating: 7.5/10