The Manic Street Preacher's debut solo album is unexpectedly adventurous.
Chris White 2006-07-18
Listeners increasingly weary of the Manic Street Preachers' facile pomposity may be pleasantly surprised by lead singer James Dean Bradfield's unexpectedly adventurous solo debut.
While he retains the Manics' irritating propensity for bloated, pretentious lyrics, delivered in his usual earnest, rasping bellow, Bradfield shows an encouraging willingness to explore contrasting musical textures. Xylophones, harmonicas and soaring vocal harmonies provide a welcome respite from his trademark guitar histrionics.
Overall, power pop rather than rock is the dominant sound. The album highlights include TheKillers-like "That's No Way To TellA Lie" and the yearning "Which Way to Kyffin".
Ultimately, Bradfield's songwriting is rather too one-paced to match his ambition, but he should nevertheless be applauded for his valiant efforts to cast off the stylistic shackles of the band that made his name.