Manic Street Preachers

Manic Street Preachers

It's disappointing that people seem to forget the brilliance of Manic Street Preachers, whose consistency has helped them remain one of the best UK rock acts of all time.

National Treasures - The Complete Singles is a perfect reminder of what makes them so special, a chronological career retrospective featuring 38 of their best and most recognisable songs.

Despite the title, there are some omissions, including their first single ('Suicide Alley), tracks from New Art Riot EP, singles that were not chart-eligible, or only given special edition releases.

There's also nothing from Journal For Plague Lovers (2009), as there were no official singles released, and only one song is included from each of their double-A sides.

Whilst the lack of any singles from Manics' 2009 effort is disappointing (the album's lyrics were by Richie Edwards, written before his disappeared in 1995), it is a very minor gripe, given the lack of any singles from the album.

With that cleared up, we can move onto the songs that are on here - in short, they're fantastic.

As safe as it is to say, songs like 'Motorcycle Emptiness" are held in universally high regard for a reason.

Manic Street Preachers get their great reputation from, amongst other things, their knack for writing great rock songs - there's no needless sub-genres.

National Treasures shows that, more than their contemporaries, they're a good guitar-driven rock band with an ear for big choruses.

That's not to say there's no room for diversity, and their singles show that the band went much further than the power chord-driven nature of songs like 'Found That Soul'.

Manics' talent for creating an epic, big ballad is also showcased from their earlier singles ('Life Becoming Landslide') and across their more recent albums ('Autumnsong').

During The Holy Bible era, Richie Edwards was a cause for concern in terms of health and mental stability, and the singles from that stage reflect that.

Despite James Dean Bradfield disliking it, 'Revol' sees Manics embracing a punk influence derived from their respect for bands like The Clash.

'She Is Suffering', from the same record, is dark without relying on gritty, punk production, and this portion of the collection is a good representation of where the band (and Richie Edwards) were at during The Holy Bible sessions.

The second showcases a softer side to the band on songs like 'The Everlasting' and 'Let Robeson Sing', as they evolved into a somewhat more radio-friendly sound.

National Treasures - The Complete Singles is a fascinating sonic journey through the career of one of this country's greatest rock bands.

The evolution of Manic Street Preachers can be heard as the listener makes their way through the collection, and should cement their legacy as one of the best of the last two and a half decades.

Female First - Alistair McGeorge