The album, which contained the singles ‘Found That Soul’, ‘So Why So Sad’ and ‘Let Robeson Sing’, split opinion upon release. A sprawling record with a heavily eclectic mix of sounds and some of their most overt political imagery, it alienated much of their new fanbase won on their previous and most successful album ‘This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours’. However, it won a place in hardcore fans’ hearts as well as in the history books – when they played a launch gig in Cuba to an audience that included Fidel Castro.
After the Manics announced plans to reissue their second album ‘Gold Against The Soul‘ last week, we asked bassist and lyricist Nicky Wire if they’d allow ‘Know Your Enemy’ the same privilege.
“Yes, because I think that it’s a really misunderstood record,” Wire told NME. “It’s us at our most overstretched. It’s funny you should ask that because I have so much stuff and demos from then. I have a track from then called ‘Studies In Paralysis’ which I don’t think was ever released. There’s an absolute mountain of stuff.”
Recalling the time of making the album, Wire continued: “We were working non-stop across different studios. ‘Know Your Enemy’ was meant to be two separate albums. One was supposed to be the harder side like ‘Found That Soul’ and the other was meant to be the ‘60s side like ‘So Why Sad’, so I might even separate them again.
“It’s one of those albums where you get a lot of sniffiness, then 20 years down the line it all comes true.”
He added: “It’s really hard to do anything like that any more. It’s a great record within a mess, like The Clash’s ‘Sandinista!’. There’s so much depth to those records and you’ve got to engage with them.”
Reviewing the album at the time of release, NME concluded: “‘Know Your Enemy’ might be riddled with more faults than California, but in an increasingly unambitious world, it allows you to answer with a cautious ‘yes’. Far from divine, but on the side of the angels.”
Recent reissues of the band have celebrated their acclaimed albums ‘The Holy Bible’, ‘Everything Must Go’, ‘This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours’, ‘Generation Terrorists’ and ‘Send Away The Tigers’.
Manic Street Preachers’ deluxe ‘Gold Against The Soul’ reissue will arrive on June 12. Check out Wire discussing the legacy of the album and what to expect from the re-release here – and their plans to headline the Park Stage at Glastonbury this June here.
The band are also working on the follow-up to 2018’s acclaimed ‘Resistance Is Futile‘. Wire told NME that the record was sounding “expansive” and would be due next year, while frontman James Dean Bradfield prepares to release a solo album this summer.
Meanwhile, Manics fans can stream their ‘The Holy Bible’ live movie Be Pure, Be Vigilant, Behave for 10 days from today on The AM Service – a new streaming platform celebrating the best of Welsh art and culture. Watch an exclusive clip of the track ‘Yes’ above.