Manic Street Preachers – Lipstick Traces: A Secret History Of…

35 B-sides and rarities, with two unreleased tracks, on two CDs

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Like Morrissey, the Manics’ significance seems lost with their own generation now, the ones who remember how bracing their manifestos and perverse provocations could be.

Hardly living up to its title, which Greil Marcus borrowed from The O’Jays early hit, the LP’s unreleased tracks are Judge Dredd soundtrack reject and Richey-era swan song “Judge Yr’self”, and scrapped single “4 Ever Delayed”. A CD of covers drops diverse but disappointingly conservative names. The dour, shapeless slog through self-composed B-sides is only enlivened by the clanging threat of ’91’s “We Her Majesty’s Prisoners” and 2000’s “Close My Eyes”, flip side to the blistering riposte to their obituarists that was “The Masses Against The Classes”, and one of several strong songs fittingly about obsolescence and exhaustion.

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