In a fit of excitement, my girlfriend, Cat, tonight made me listen to the new Manic Street Preachers track, ‘(It’s Not War) Just The End Of Love’ as she gauged my reaction over the phone. Of the many wonderful things she has introduced me to (olives, cleanliness, and the work of Simon Armitage to name but a few), the Manics are perhaps one of her greatest gifts. I had simply never bothered to listen to them before, but with the gradual addition of albums and almost yearly live shows, my love continues to grow. I bought her the special edition Journal For Plague Lovers set (which remains my favourite album of last year that I’ve never got round to owning myself), and it’s clear that that album is colouring my view of the new track.
Fellow This Is Fake DIY writer Gareth O’Malley brilliantly characterises the new record, Postcards From A Young Man, as a sequel to Everything Must Go in much the same way as Journal could be considered a successor to The Holy Bible. Tbe difference is, this first single doesn’t sell it in quite the same way – which is not to say that this is a bad thing. ‘Just The End Of Love’ is unashamedly stadium-sized in its approach, with a catchy melody, insistent chorus and a classic rock guitar solo to its name. Where Journal’s first tracks intrigued with their dark, cryptic stylings, this new single eschews any pretence of intricacy; this is a rock ‘n’ roll song about love, and that’s it.
Because of their similar positions as spiritual successors (and relatively quick turnover), the two approaches are bound to be compared, but what becomes immediately clear upon contrasting them is this: The Manics are just about one of the most talented groups in rock music today. To be able to follow a record as bloody-mindedly intense as Journal with a single (and, I imagine, record) this carefree proves their multi-faceted brilliance, whichever you prefer.
But after all of this guff, I think Cat summed it up best: ‘I just smiled – it’s nice to hear them being positive’
Manic Street Preachers – (It’s Not War) Just The End Of Love (YSI) – Removed By Request