by Dave Simpson
Since his disappearance in 1995, Welsh rockers the Manic Street Preachers have been reluctant to address the fate of Richey Edwards, their former guitarist and lyricist. But the band's forthcoming album, Lifeblood, released on November 1, talks about him in song.
The track Cardiff Afterlife forms the cornerstone of an album that Manics spokeswoman Terri Hall says "finally deals with" the tragedy. The song's chorus runs: "In the Cardiff afterlife we sensed the breaking of our lives ... And yet I kept my silence/ Your memory is still mine."
Edwards - who battled alcoholism and anorexia - vanished in 1995 after leaving his Vauxhall Cavalier close to a well-known suicide spot by the first Severn Bridge near Chepstow. Over the years, innumerable sightings of Edwards have proved unfounded. However, the guitarist's family have rejected the option of having him legally declared dead. The song title signifies his bandmates' belief that Edwards is with them "in the ether".
[Originally published: The Guardian, 9 September 2004]