Generic Ratings: 1: Crap. 2: Ok. 3: Good. 4: Great.
Opening with one of my favourite Manics riffs and one of my favourite Manics introductions, this opening track from the second album showcases better production, heightened writing skills (both lyrically and musically), more powerful vocals, and a harsher metallic sound. It also contains some of my favourite overall guitar work thanks to that riff and an immense middle section/solo. If you’re a regular here you’ll know how much I appreciate the guitar and as a player myself I’m always in awe of JDB’s skills while playing and singing together. Having said that, I’m not as wowed by million mile an hour solos for the sake of showing off speed – the solo has to at least feel unique and an important part of the song – for me guitar must follow the same rules that make me love any music – emotion, talent, honesty, intelligence, melody, come before speed, technique, ingenuity. But I’m getting off topic.
This album, and this song is not particularly beloved by the band, perhaps due to a sound deliberately pandering to a more straight, US oriented rock audience. Look beyond the music (which is excellent) and you get further insight into the developing psychosis of Richey and the group which is further uncovered in the rest of the album. Abandoning the politics entirely, this is an introspective poem with a spattering of self-mocking which fixates on the results of insomnia. I can think of few better album openers than this.
Misheard Lyrics: 1. The mattress arms I was meaning so alive.
2. A mammary flesh tour. A Patent skate.
Actual Lyrics: 1. Lament blossoms, hours, minutes of our lives.
2. A memory fades to a pale landscape.