Less bombastic than his bandmate James Dean Bradfield's The Great Western, this second Manic Street Preachers solo spin-off has a rough, unfinished patina that proclaims its indie integrity, and is reminiscent of a Graham Coxon solo album, not least because neither can sing, perhaps due to the massive chips on their shoulders. As the Manics' main lyricist/polemicist, one expects a little provocation from Wire, and he's happy to oblige with songs defending suicide, questioning religion, expressing disgust at the commercialised world, reflecting on pervasive boredom ("Embrace it," he sneers, "it's modern"), and offering as his "last crusade" the desire to "rid this land of hypocrisy", a Sisyphean task if ever there was one. Less predictable, perhaps, are the expressions of fidelity in "You Will Always Be My Home" and "Kimino Rock", the latter revealing the homesickness beneath the rock'n'roll veneer of touring bands. Oddly for a bassist, the album has a brittle, toppy sound, with Wire eschewing bass for a variety of guitar styles, from folk-rock to shambling C86 indie-rock to an approximation of Neu!'s Krautrock "motorik" style on the instrumental "Sehnsucht".
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