WELSH rock band Manic Street Preachers will play York Barbican on October 4 on a 14-date 2021 tour with a second Yorkshire gig at Leeds O2 Academy on October 7.
The autumn itinerary will showcase the September 3 release of their 14th studio album, The Ultra Vivid Lament, on Columbia/Sony, preceded by lead single Orwellian, out today (14/5/2021).
In a departure from 2018’s Resistance Is Futile, the new album is the first Manics’ studio set to be conceived initially on piano rather than guitar.
Recording sessions took place in Wales over the winter of 2020-2021, at Rockfield Studios in Monmouth and the Manics’ Door To The River studio in Newport, working with long-time collaborator Dave Eringa before the tracks were mixed by David Wrench, whose credits include Blossoms, Frank Ocean and Arlo Parks.
The Ultra Vivid Lament will feature two guest vocalists: Julia Cumming, from Sunflower Bean, on The Secret He Had Missed and godfather of grunge Mark Lanegan on Blank Diary Entry.
On the subject of new single Orwellian, the Manics say: “The track is about the battle to claim meaning, the erasing of context within debate, the overriding sense of factional conflict driven by digital platforms leading to a perpetual state of culture war.
“As with many songs on the record, it was written on the piano by James Dean Bradfield. Musically, it echoes Abba, the majesty of Alan Rankine’s playing in The Associates and Talk Talk’s It’s My Life with a Lindsey Buckingham guitar solo. It felt like the perfect sonic and lyrical introduction to The Ultra Vivid Lament.”
Bradfield, Nicky Wire and Sean Moore say of the album: “The Ultra Vivid Lament is both reflection and reaction; a record that gazes in isolation across a cluttered room, fogged by often painful memories, to focus on an open window framing a gleaming vista of land melting into sea and endless sky.”
Inspired by the record box of their formative years – Abba, post-Eno Roxy Music, Echo & The Bunnymen, Fables-era REM and David Bowie’s Lodger – the 11 tracks marry introspection with quiet rage, from the opening ambient hum of Snowing In Sapporo to the galloping The Secret He Had Missed, with its push-and-pull duet imagining dialogue between Welsh brother and sister artists Augustus and Gwen John. In between come Diapause’s contemplation and Happy Bored Alone’s stoic wishful thinking.
The full track listing is: Still Snowing In Sapporo; Orwellian; The Secret He Had Missed; Quest For Ancient Colour; Don’t Let the Night Divide Us; Diapause; Complicated Illusions;
Into The Waves Of Love; Blank Diary Entry; Happy Bored Alone and Afterending.
After their longest enforced break from playing live, the Manics will return to the stage with summer festival appearances and an open-air headline show at The Piece Hall, Halifax on September 10.
On the subsequent tour, the support act will be The Anchoress, the stage name of Welsh-born multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and author Catherine Anne Davies, whose March album, The Art Of Losing, is one of the records of 2021 to discover.
Manic Street Preachers last played York Barbican on May 27 2019 on a tour marking the 20th anniversary of their fifth album, September 1998’s This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours. Tickets for their October 4 return will go on sale on Friday, May 21 at 10am at yorkbarbican.co.uk.