>The second gig I ever went to was to see Manic Street Preachers in 1996. They were just post-Richey, pre-Big Time and were noisier, angrier and more intelligent than anyone I had ever met growing up in Stoke on Trent. I pushed to the very front and spent a happy hour crushed against glum, milk-white girls wearing kohl and leopard print.
The Manics’ primary attraction is their wilful perverseness; actively encouraging people to dislike them, releasing hit-and-miss albums that confuse the unsuspecting. They have veered, in deliberate disorientating fashion, from smooth rock to grating punk to electro-flop and back and forth and back again as and when they like it, not us. And all the while not caring, growing stronger, tighter, feeding off the anger, hate, bewilderment.
Now they’re releasing a new album,
produced recorded by another man who doesn’t give a shit – Steve Albini. It prises open the past, using Richey’s lyrics, and deliberately treads over fan/media fetishising of 1994’s The Holy Bible. Perhaps it’ll be great, perhaps it won’t be. It doesn’t matter. That’s the point.
Today’s New Band, The Love Kevins, have songs with titles whose themes might have interested the Manics a decade or so ago. Oh, and just take a second to fully appreciate the minor brilliance of The Love Kevins’ name. Continue.
“You’re going to die, you’re going to die alone,” is the chorus We’re All Going To Die, a song whose sweet melody that couldn’t vary much more from the vocal sentiments. Plain, bare and calm, it’s the sounds of objective lushness. Stop Being Perfect passes quickly and quietly before you realise how enjoyable it was.
The Love Kevins are from Malmo in Sweden, and – surprise – have the Swedish way with top pop tunes, and add to it a dollop of strange, unexpected perverseness. Perhaps the Manics would like them, in secret. You will – listen here.