Album review: There's no unlucky 13 as Manic Street Preachers' Resistance Is Futile shines
As a self-confessed Manics fan, every time a new album rears its head, I'm always a little cautious.
Will it be any good?
What if it's not?
Will I end up forcing myself to like it, even if it's a bit dodgy and average?
Quite why I have these feelings, I'm not sure. Because Wales' finest have never let me down yet.
Resistance Is Futile is their 13th studio album and although James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire and Sean Moore are all tumbling towards the big 5-0, anyone thinking they might have mellowed into an arena of soft rock and comfy sweaters is going to be sorely disappointed.
For Resistance captures a band still very relevant, still knowing what make a decent tune and with singalong stadium rock anthems with the power to match up to A Design For Life.
Right from the opener People Give In, this is an album bristling with hooks, verve and shining songs that have the edge to stand head and shoulders above other offerings out there right now.
OK, the panda make-up, skin tight white jeans and feather boas might have been consigned to the wardrobe, but the Manics' trademark energy and sweeping and soaring brand of guitar rock is still very much in evidence.
On tracks like the hefty slab of power pop that is International Blue, Bradfield's voice has not dimmed a bit in the last 30 odd years.
Distant Colours might slow things down a little, but its still euphoric and uplifting and Dylan and Caitlin – dedicated to the celebrated poet Thomas and his wife sees Bradfield swapping choruses with The Anchoress.
This is vintage - but brand new Manics. Everything Must Go zeal transported kicking and screaming into 2018.
Of course, the song titles - The Left Behind, A Song For The Sadness are pure Preachers' melancholy.
But on the whole, this is one of the band's strongest, most consistent and shining albums yet.
OK, it won't break any moulds and it isn't likely to win over anyone who wasn't in at the start - but if you've not had a listen for a while, try it. You might just like it.
* Resistance Is Futile by Manic Street Preachers is released on April 13.