All Is Vanity

All Is Vanity: 4/Great

One of the heavier songs from Journal For Plague Lovers, in an album filled with guitars, foreboding, and dark moments, it is notable in that many of its lyrics popped up earlier on the song Picturesque from the God Save The Manics EP. That song is vastly different from what we have here, and indeed this song feels like the distilled version of what Richey was saying when he left behind his folder of lyrics. It starts in sinister fashion with a driving, ominous drum and bass combo, but it isn’t until the guitar takes over that driving bass riff that the song truly takes hold. There’s the sense of routine, an inevitable, unstoppable march in the music, a sound which breaks free in the wonderful chorus with Bradfield unleashing a furious barrage of vocals and guitars. And that’s really it, the second half of the song is simply a repetition of the verse and chorus, no changes lyrically or musically. But it manages to be powerful and sinister nonetheless in barely three and a half minutes.

Misheard Lyrics: Heaven shape for days

2: My luxury of one war died

Actual Lyrics: Haven’t shaved for days

2: The luxury of one more dye

Facing Page Top Left

Facing Page: Top Left: 3/Good

One of the softer, more acoustic based songs from Journal For Plague Lovers is also one of the weakest. It’s still a good song, with a lovely, tender mix of harp and guitar that recalls Small Black Flowers, but it feels too light, too much like an outtake, and while the lyrics are as cutting and brilliant as you would expect, neither the verse or chorus have the melodic impact of other songs on the album. It’s short though and doesn’t fall into the trap of needless repetition, simply comes in, does its job, and fades away as if it was never there in the first place.

Misheard Lyrics: Clean fashion lines

2. This beauty is dipping neon phobia?

3. Here is oblivion babe does it rest/Here is oblivion babe that’s it wrecked.

4. Mutually discolour

5. Sugar pills – the lack of healing

6. Fragrance my ass caught up no meaning

Actual Lyrics: Clean flesh and lines

2. This beauty here dipping neophobia

3. Here is oblivion bathed acid red

4. Mute oily discolour

5. Sugar pills the flak of healing

6. Fragrance my escort of no meaning

She Bathed Herself In A Bath Of Bleach

Generic Ratings: 1: Crap. 2: Okay. 3: Good. 4: Great

Like much of Journal we retread old Holy Bible ideas with a new reverence and the passing glance of a hawk. It’s riff heavy, with massive chorus and verses. In many ways it feels like something Nirvana would have done. It gets to the point with zero excess fat, clocking it at barely over two minutes, dealing with souring relationships, ‘preying on the needy’, domestic violence, and physically deforming yourself to suit the imagined desires of others – all lovely stuff.

She Bathed Herself In A Bath Of Bleach: 3/Good


Marlon J.D

Generic Ratings: 1: Crap. 2: Okay. 3: Good. 4: Great

Evoking powerful images of Marlon Brando’s Reflections In A Golden Eye, the lyrics are visceral and brutal and speak of Richey’s appreciation of the beauty of minimalist survival, of withstanding torture and physical pain as if you’re a wraith. The music bursts out of the speakers sharply, like a rifle crack, the guitars and drums reminiscent of Joy Division and angular punk. It’s brief, leaving no room to catch your breath, and the nifty closing guitar solo is straight out of The Holy Bible.

Misheard Lyrics: Oh well, whatever, never lonely Marlon JD

Actual Lyrics: A well-oiled rifle, never lonely Marlon JD

Marlon J. D: 4/Great