Sound — 8
The album is an eccentric rock album and whilst being one of Manic's albums with a slightly harder edge, they still manage to contrast this with some interesting sounds. The rock edge of songs such as 'Peeled Apples' with the smooth soft rock edges from 'This Joke Sport Severed'. The variety here is still what you'd expect from this band with some interesting riffs and some interesting sounds, whilst still sounding like the rock band you'd like to here. Another notable thing is that this album should appease older listeners who have criticised Manics for being too commercial, whilst this should satisfy the average modern rock listener. There is nothing extraordinary about how original this album is, but you will definitely will not be hearing a repeat of something, nor will this be repeated. The mixing, whilst is superb in quality, I would argue it is not the best suited for the album. However, it is well produced and it still comes off as authentic.
Lyrics — 9
This is one of the most important parts of the album, and for a good reason. This is entirely made up from lyrics and poetry from their original vocalist Richey, who went missing in 1993 and was presumed to be dead last year. Those who are familiar with the album 'Holy Bible' can expect those sort of lyrics, but should not expect a repeat. The vagueness of the lyrics will put some people off, but the wit will draw some people in. The humour remains, the cynicism is still there. The band do implement these lyrics well; you feel as if the lyrics were written for the music rather than the music was written for the lyrics, so there is no problem there. Nevertheless, the lyrics are clever and definitely are a highlight of the album, regardless of its back story.
Overall Impression — 8
This is a normal Manics album but is definitely one of their best; I would not think that Manics fans would be disappointed in this CD and I would possibly recommend this album as a good starting point. It does not hold a feel of which older fans would criticise as being 'commercial' and the album as a whole works well. There is much 'mainstream' about this album although it could very well appeal to. The lyrics are clever and arrange the album very well and there is a lot to enjoy from this album, which only increases after several more listens. Whilst this album is not for everyone, fans of the band will not be disappointed.