Know Your Enemy is the sixth long-player from the Manic Street Preachers.
Sixteen tracks starting with one of the two singles released from the album - the 'better'
one - Found That Soul, an impressive start to the album. Following is the acoustic
Ocean Spray which James Dean Bradfield wrote about his mother's death from
cancer. It features a trumpet solo from drummer Sean Moore.
Track three is Intravenous Agnostic, featuring a fuzzy guitar - a bit like the bands'
earlier singles. So Why So Sad is the other 'first' single to be released from the
album, very un-Manics - this was the 'commercial' single for the non-fans. Big production
with harmonic backing vocals.
The fifth track was written about African-American singer/actor Paul Robeson. Let
Robeson Sing is a lovely gentle acoustic ballad. Six is The Year Of Purification,
featuring, again, brilliant harmonies. The line "Run away, run away as fast as you can."
Next up is Nicky Wire's vocal debut on a track that sounds even more unlike the Manics.
Wattsville Blues begins with a drum machine with an acoustic guitar strumming over it
followed by Nicky's distorted vocals - different. The next track is Miss Europa Disco
Dancer, the band having a go at disco - funky bass, 70's beat - very different. The track
attacks the 'Ibiza' culture ending with the line "Braindead motherf**kers" repeated to
Dead Martyrs and His Last Painting follow. His Last Painting is about
the loss of identity - "It's not my life anymore/Don't speak the truth anymore".
My Guernica has a 'noisy' sound, it opens with James' distorted vocals. The
Convalescent tells us that Brian Warner (aka Marilyn Manson) has a "tasty
little ass". Good track.
Royal Correspondent follows - only three tracks left! The last couple of tracks have
sounded similar. Here we go, Epicentre is a slow acoustic ballad. Epicentre
and Baby Elian follow. Baby Elian is one of the best tracks on the album, it was
written about the Cuban baby Elian Gonzalez - note Cuba. Finally the album comes to
an end with Freedom Of Speech Won't Feed My Children, an attack on the Americanisation
of the world.
That was not however the end of the album, there is a hidden track, a cover of McCarthy's
We Are All Bourgeois Now but to be honest I can't be bothered to wait another five minutes
to hear it.
A very long album, featuring some good tracks and some not so good (not bad though) tracks. Some
very different stuff to what you normally hear from the band but a good album.