"We Felt It Was Time To Use Richey's Lyrics"

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Nicky Wire declares the Manic Street Preachers' new album will be "the follow-up to 'The Holy Bible'"

Manic Street Preachers' forthcoming album will feature new lyrics from missing member Richey Edwards.

The band, who have already recorded nine songs with producer Steve Albini at Rockfield studios in Wales, finally turned to a batch of writing the guitarist and lyricist left behind when he disappeared in 1995.

Tentatively titled 'Journal for Plague Lovers', the album - which the band aim to finish in January, ahead of a spring release - will feature Edwards' lyrics exclusively, with no contributions from co-lyricist Nicky Wire.

"I think because we've had such a great 18 months, 'Send Away the Tigers' did so well commercially and critically, the Godlike Genius award... we felt like we'd justified our existence again and it felt natural," Wire explained to NME. "We've had these lyrics for 14 years and we all felt compelled that this was the right time to do it. It's a follow-up to 'The Holy Bible' in a lot of ways and I did write 25 per cent of the words on 'The Holy Bible', but on this one it felt proper that they're entirely Richey's. There's a small amount of editing involved, because some of them are prose and they needed to be made into lyrics, but no, they're all Richey's."

Alongside the title track, songs slated for the record include 'Peeled Apples', 'Doors Closing Slowing, 'Jackie Collins' Existential Question Time' and 'William's Last Words'.

"Lyrically, some of it is pretty impenetrable even to us," said Wire, "and we knew him pretty well. We don't know what he's talking about all the time because he's not around to tell us."

Musically, Wire reckons around half the album is the same "very intense post-punk rock of 'The Holy Bible'", with other songs displaying a more tender acoustic side in the vein of 'Small Black Flowers That Grow in the Sky' or 'Donkeys'.

However, with the notoriously lo-fi Albini on board, there will definitely be no digital recording techniques or string sections.

"Steve Albini was perfect," said Wire. "We've been listening to 'In Utero' a lot and Shellac. Everything's played live, it's all on analogue tape, no computers. With modern recording you've got a safety net, but here we didn't have one. We wanted to push ourselves again."

Wire added that the band are treating the material with the respect it deserves. It is unlikely there will be any singles and they have yet to decide whether they will tour the record.

[Originally published: New Musical Express, 8 November 2008]