Lipstick Traces – Manic Street Preachers (2003, Sony Records)
Bought Oxfam, Exeter for £2.49
Spectators of Suicide – Manic Street Preachers (2003, Sony Records)
There is only thing worse than the stench of a major label flogging a Greatest Hits Package to diehard fans of a particular band. That is the stench of a major label flogging a B Sides and Rarities Package to diehard fans of a particular band. There are very few compilation albums of this type that appear to be worth getting. This one is no different. Sort of. To misquote some pundit somewhere, its an album of two halves. The first CD is excellent, the second is not.
The first CD of this album contains 20 songs that saw a release as a B Side to one of the singles that the Manic Street Preachers released from their first six albums. Not taking away anything that the band have released since their sixth album, but that was pretty much the bands golden period, for the first four at least, the Manics mattered and I for one would have travelled a great distance to see them play. Hell I would have stood outside with an ear trumpet if it mattered. Like all great bands, Manics B-Sides were at times as good as the A -Sides and this collection of songs are just that.
For starters, the opening track ‘Prologue to History’ is superb, a smashing slice of piano led punk pop. The piano intro sounding uncannily like the opening to ‘Wrote for Luck’ but it hinted very early of what might be to come.
Prologue to History – Manic Street Preachers (2003, Sony Records)
There are other highlights too, ‘Dead Trees and Traffic Islands’ for one, which I think was the B Side on one of the ‘Design for Life’ singles, sounds like a track that should have perhaps made it on to an album because its great.
Dead Trees and Traffic Islands – Manic Street Preachers (2003, Sony Records)
Its when you get to the cover version CD that things go downhill very quickly. Sure there is a rather lovely version of ‘Bright Eyes’ and the bands version of ‘Wrote For Luck’ is superb but the rest are either live versions that sound like they were recorded from the car park or just not very good. The version of Nirvana’s ‘Been A Son’ sounds flat and I rather wish that they hadn’t bothered.
Been A Son – Manic Street Preachers (2003, Sony Records)
Bright Eyes (Live) – Manic Street Preachers (2003, Sony Records)
If you see this in a charity, keep the first disc, ditch the second.