More power to them for almost topping the chart this week with The Love of Richard Nixon. The fact that Nicky Wire's perverse lyric is encased in the smoothest drivetime pop proves the Manics are still unrivalled at mixed messages. Not bad for a 15-year-old band, especially one whose last (disappointing) album was three years ago. The lay-off germinated the usual clutter of ideas gleaned from books and films and their best tunes in years.
Instead of being the return to form it was clearly intended to be, Manic Street Preachers' sixth album, Know Your Enemy, sucked the life out of the band, collapsing in a heap of bad reviews and ill will. It was such a wrong move that even the band acknowledged that things went wrong, so they took some time off to regroup, issuing a hits collection Forever Delayed in 2002, with a B-sides and rarities comp Lipstick Traces following in 2003. The decks being suitably cleared, the band eased back in late 2004 with their seventh album Lifeblood, a record that takes the MOR/AOR inclinations of This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours to heart.