Release Date: May 7, 2007
Record label: Columbia
Genre(s): Rock, Alternative
Review Summary: Send Away The Tigers is one of the surprise packages of the year.Sometimes even coincidence tries too hard. The very day Send Away The Tigers was released across Europe, seminal British electronic pop group New Order announced what appears to be their conclusive split. Mere happenstance, or one of pop’s all-time dramatic statements? I prefer the latter.No strangers to overt symbolism themselves, the Manic Street Preachers have gone straight back to source with their eighth studio release.
Like many long-term relationships, Manic Street Preachers benefited from some time apart, as their seventh album, Send Away the Tigers, makes plain. Arriving on the heels of 2006 solo albums from both singer/guitarist James Dean Bradfield and lyricist/bassist Nicky Wire, Send Away the Tigers finds the group recharged and revitalized, achieving the widescreen grandeur of Everything Must Go but infusing it with a harder rock edge that may not be as furious as their earliest work, but is no less committed. This surging sense of purpose was conspicuously absent on the Manics' previous albums, which grew increasingly mannered in their attempts at majestic pop, culminating in the pleasant but too soft Lifeblood.
The Manics were, and still are, a fabulous idea: a Welsh, working-class Clash who have slogged away for nearly 20 years, turning bookishness into bombast and politics into pop. Fast approaching their 40s and keen to refire their rocky engines after a few dour albums, they loosen the belt buckles and fizz with youth - both their own (on the ode to their fans, Underdogs), and others (the heady rush of being young on Autumnsong; the deaths of young British soldiers in Iraq on Imperial Bodybags). Garish guitar solos and embarrassing song titles aside - I'm Just A Patsy being another 24-carat clunker - the winces subside with each listen, and the gung-ho vitality of the music - full of nods to the Stooges, Guns N'Roses and the Ramones - helps grant the band a little absolution.