Manic Street Preachers
Gold Against The Soul reissue
Release date: 12th June
LP/CDx2 with photo book
Louder Than War namesakes Manic Street Preachers release a fantastic remastering of their second album that was the transitioning before the amazing The Holy Bible. Wayne Carey gets the chance to reminisce and trawl through the extras…
Nicky Wire said of the release “We moved our studio a few years ago and I unearthed a lot of demos and pictures from the ‘Gold Against The Soul’ era and thought it would be a shame not to let them see the light of day. We haven’t always been the most complementary about this album in the past, but with hindsight it was a strange and curious record with many fan’s favourites on it. James always gets a huge response when he teases the riff to Sleepflower live.”
Way back in 1991 / 1992 ‘The Manics’ were making waves with controversial self harm episodes, proclaiming they were making the greatest rock album of all time, glamming it up and much more to come. I remember getting that black ink on my fingers reading NME, Melody Maker and Sounds and wondering who the fuck this band were coming out of Wales. The Richey episode was alarming at the time and I thought, is this attention seeking, controversial, or from the heart? It certainly made people aware of this ambitious band who were supposed to burn out after one album in true Sex Pistols style.
Obviously this never happened and they have ended up selling shed loads of records and have released 13 albums to date, not always brilliant but consistent. Gold Against The Soul brings back good memories to me as it was THAT album with the stadium hits. They proved that in 1994 when I saw them slay the crowd at Reading Festival with a great mix of the first three albums (and a cover of Nirvana’s Penny Royal Tea), minus Richey at the time.
James Bradfield has always stated this was his least favourite album, yet when you listen back, although it’s not The Holy Bible there are some great rock tracks on there that your postman will know. Sleepflower with that catchy fucker of a riff, the unforgettable Despair To Where, and Bradfield’s amazing vocal range on La Tristessa Durera to name a few. The whole album has been remastered making it sound not much different yet polished. If Generation Terrorists was their Clash album then Gold Against The Soul was definitely the Guns & Roses wedge between the dark emotions of The Holy Bible. Drug Drug Druggy, the earworm that is Roses In The Hospital, Symphony Of Tourette. It still sounds good as ever to me.
The Manics are one of those bands who always come up with great B sides and they’re all here as extras to beef this whole package up to 19 songs. It includes one of my favourite tracks the brilliant Patrick Bateman (B-side to La Tristessa Duressa). Probably the nearest they have got to metal and an ode to American Psycho. Charles Windsor is one there as is Donkeys and an attempt at The Mondays – Wrote For Luck, twisting apart that baggy anthem. This is all topped off with a live version of The Clash song What’s My Name.
CD2 features demos of all the tracks. It’s a mix of House In The Woods (a regular haunt for recording) demos and Impact demos, giving you an early feel to the tracks and how they were born. Then you get the obligatory mixes that are normal fair, turning La Tristessa into a Chemical Brothers noisefest full of tweeks and wobble and Roses In The Hospital getting the Ashley Beedle treatment including a 51 Funk Salute mix, A Filet O Gang mix and an ECG remix.
This is it if you choose to buy the cheaper vinyl version. If you go for the deluxe book and CD version, which is expensive but worth it if you’re a Manics fan, you get a beautifully made photo book full of unseen photos taken by the bands long time photographic collaborator Mitch Ikeda, many personally annotated by Nicky Wire and original typed and handwritten lyrics from the bands own archive.
Words by Wayne Carey who writes for Louder Than War. His author profile is here.