Manic Street Preachers share ‘Orwellian’ from ‘The Ultra Vivid Lament’ and announce UK tour
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  • Post published:14/05/2021
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Their ABBA, Bowie and REM-inspired 14th album will arrive in September, and is launched with a gem that tackles our “perpetual state of culture war”

Manic Street Preachers return with 'The Ultra Vivid Lament'. Credit: Alex Lake
Manic Street Preachers return with ‘The Ultra Vivid Lament’. Credit: Alex Lake

Manic Street Preachers are back – sharing new single ‘Orwellian’ as well as announcing details of their 14th album ‘The Ultra Vivid Lament’ along with a UK tour.

The follow-up to 2018’s acclaimed ‘Resistance Is Futile‘ will arrive on September 3, and was recorded at the legendary Rockfield studios as well as their own Door to the River HQ with long-time collaborator Dave Eringa – featuring Julia Cumming of Sunflower Bean on ‘The Secret He Had Missed’ and Mark Lanegan on ‘Blank Diary Entry’.

The first taster of the album is the single ‘Orwellian’, a track that calls upon the shimmering, futuristic and European sounds of their ‘Futurology’ era while painting a world where “everywhere you look, everywhere you turn, the future fights the past” and “words wage war“.

“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,” said the band in a statement. “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 [Fleetwood Mac] guitar solo. It felt like the perfect sonic and lyrical introduction to ‘The Ultra Vivid Lament’.”

‘The Ultra Vivid Lament’ is described by the band as “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”.

Musically, the album’s 11 tracks are described as a “departure” from ‘Resistance Is Futile’, having been initially conceived on piano rather than guitar and marrying “ introspection, quiet rage and sublime, irresistible tunes”. It is also said to be sonically inspired by ABBA, post-Eno Roxy Music, Echo & The Bunnymen, ‘Fables’-era REM, and David Bowie’s ‘Lodger’.

This comes after bassist and lyricist Nicky Wire previously told NME that the album was sounding “expansive” and “retro-futuristic“.

Manic Street Preachers' new album 'The Ultra Vivid Lament'
Manic Street Preachers’ new album ‘The Ultra Vivid Lament’

The tracklist for ‘The Ultra Vivid Lament’ is:

1. ‘Still Snowing In Sapporo’
2. ‘Orwellian’
3. ‘The Secret He Had Missed’
4. ‘Quest For Ancient Colour’
5. ‘Don’t Let The Night Divide Us’
6. ‘Diapause’
7. ‘Complicated Illusions’
8. ‘Into The Waves Of Love’
9. ‘Blank Diary Entry’
10. ‘Happy Bored Alone’
11. ‘Afterending’

Tour dates and tickets

The band’s upcoming UK tour dates are below, with tickets to the newly-announced shows on pre-sale for those who order the album starting from Wednesday May 19 at 10am and general sale on Friday May 21 at 10am. Visit here for tickets and more information.

The dates include their rescheduled Cardiff Arena shows for the NHS in July 2021. The concerts were originally due to take place this December at Cardiff Motorpoint Arena, with one free for healthcare workers and the other a fundraiser for health service charities.

Newly announced shows:

September 26 – Newcastle, City Hall
September 28 – Edinburgh, Usher Hall
September 29 – Dundee, Caird Hall
October 1 – Stoke On-Trent, Victoria Hall
October 2 – Manchester, Apollo
October 4 – York, Barbican
October 5 – Glasgow, Barrowlands
October 7 – Leeds, Academy
October 8 – Portsmouth, Guildhall
October 10 – Bournemouth, Academy
October 11 – Cambridge, Corn Exchange
October 13 – Bath, Forum
October 14 – Bristol, Dome
December 3 – London, Wembley Arena

Previously announced shows:

July 16 – Cardiff, Arena (NHS workers show)
July 17 – Cardiff, Arena (NHS public show)
July 30 – Pikehall, Y Not Festival
August 7 – Linlithgow, Party At The Palace
August 29 – Alcester, Camper Calling Music Festival
September 10 – Halifax, Live at Piece Hall
September 18 – Jersey, Electric Park Festival

As well as featuring on The Anchoress’ recent album ‘The Art Of Losing‘, frontman James Dean Bradfield last year released his second solo album ‘Even In Exile‘. Nicky Wire, meanwhile, has also been working on “modern, electronic, soothsaying” solo material – as well as planning a 20th anniversary reissue of the Manics’ divisive 2001 album ‘Know Your Enemy‘.

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