Journal For Plague Lovers Review

artist: Manic Street Preachers date: 05/27/2009 category: compact discs
Manic Street Preachers: Journal For Plague Lovers
Released: May 18, 2009
Genre: Rockfield Studios
Label: Alternative Rock
Number Of Tracks: 13
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.
 Sound: 9
 Lyrics: 9.5
 Overall Impression: 9
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reviews (2) 12 comments vote for this album:
overall: 8.3
Journal For Plague Lovers Reviewed by: Craigo, on may 26, 2009
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: 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. // 8

Lyrics: 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. // 9

Overall Impression: 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. // 8

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overall: 10
Journal For Plague Lovers Reviewed by: Bigshoutout, on may 27, 2009
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: The media and fans may wish this album to be The Holy Bible 2, what it is instead is a record wrote in the same vein as Everything Must Go. For example title track Journal for Plague Lovers contains their biggest hook since Australia with a frenzied anthemic guitars. The album does begins with a messy crunchy rocker that might have sounded Holy Bible eske if it wasn't for the fact the compression is minimal and James doesn't raise to a venomous shout. It then continues with the monsterous sound of the Manics of new and never really looks back at the dark THB days. Jacky Collins, All is Vanity, JFPL, She bathed herself and VSEC could all comfortably hold their own with the best Manic rockers. Marlon J.D is propably the least understated thing here but after a few listens it becomes just as enormous as anything else. While the majority of the record is anthemic rock songs in the style of Everything Must Go on the other side of JFPL's is an achingly beautiful acoustic side, where the guitars are textured and rich, Facing Page Top Left and A Joke Sport Severed are true acoustic delights. To sum up the production is fantastic, but it isn't dark and brooding and compressed to rustyness, it's light and summery. Perfect for the anthemic hooks of the Manics of recent and very like Everything Must Go. // 10

Lyrics: Despite the lighter sound of the music the lyrics are understandingly very dark. Opener 'Peeled Apples' chorus throws out self harming 'bruises on my hands from digging my nails out' while 'Virginia State Epileptic Colony', explores the lack of humanity in mental institutions. The title track is the gem of the bunch though a classic Manics throw with a chorus about God and death. Still theres another side to JFPL we didn't see in the Holy Bible, Richey's humour, 'if a married man fuckes a catholic and his wife dies without knowing, does that make his unfaithful' he muses, in a lyric centred around a game show. The bridge 'oh mummy whats a sex pistol' is a fantastic slap in the face of Daily Mail Britain. James voice is on fine form too, still totally unintelligable to the lister without a lyric sheet. Even so hes in Australia mode for most of this album, short lines with enthisis, none of that spitting out big words quickly from THB. Great lyrics and singing, but this is the Manics. // 10

Overall Impression: If theres a problem with JFPL's theres no fat on the record at all, no song really develops, none of them really hang around. Most of them are 2-3 minutes long and while theres a lot to them you'll be damned to see a 2 minute long guitar solo or even one that goes on long enough to notice. This can hurt the songs when they just end without any big send off but it also keeps the energy up and the record short enough to listen to in a sitting and be taken as an album rather than a collection of songs. This album does sound like it could have been made straight after THB. It's definatly a companion peace to EMG, a similar sound and outlook, which is better though? it's hard to tell, JFPL is propably their most consistant, catchy and listenable album ever but EMG has a handful of classic tracks and I can't see any of these songs becoming radio stickers especially with no singles being released. The best approach, buy all the albums, and if you've already got them all definatly buy JFPL's its their best in 10 years. // 10

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