When the curse of the one-hit wonder strikes, its reach is long and hard....
Their solution? Have a go at everything and see what worked. So second LP 'Byzantium' is a restless, twitching collection of mismatched tracks, all still mourning for the '80s and trying on each new genre like an especially painful shoe.
Unbelievably, turgid goth-rock is the first up: opener 'Daybreak And A Candle End' rumbles in like The Cure by numbers, attempting to convey pain and anguish, but merely creating the stench of Simple Minds. 'So Precious' swaggers with trumpets and toys with salsa while 'Parkbench' is sub-New Order rubbish; 'Cherry Lime Rickey' would be leather-clad metal without its weedy vocals; and, worst of all, much of 'Byzantium' is jammed with fiddly jazz. None of which would be so infuriating if the whole LP weren't wrapped in pseudo-intellectualism: the lyrics are the Manics without brains, too much dictionary digestion and far too little understanding.
It's not so much a case of failing to be all things to all people, then, than one of trying too hard, thinking too much and forgetting that no-one really cares anyway.
To read all our reviews first - days before they appear online - check out NME magazine, on sale every Wednesday