Manic Street Preachers‘ frontman James Dean Bradfield has returned with two new singles – check out ‘There’ll Come A War’ and ‘Seeking The Room With The Three Windows’ below along with our exclusive interview with the frontman.
The two tracks preview Bradfield’s upcoming yet-to-be-announced album, the follow up to his 2006 solo debut ‘The Great Western’ and with lyrics penned by Patrick Jones – the famous Welsh poet and playwright and brother of Manics bassist and lyricist Nicky Wire. The whole record was inspired by the life and death of Chilean musician, teacher and political activist Victor Jara.
Speaking to NME about the two new songs, Bradfield said that: “One shows Jara’s joy, the other shows his fears”.
“‘There Will Come A War’ was a lyric about the bridge between where Victor Jara, the people he was with and the Allende government all knew that a war was coming,” Bradfield told NME. “They could feel it. It was insipid and it just grew, and grew and grew. When Victor Jara was coming back from his tour of Peru, he knew he was coming back to a war – and the courage involved in that is amazing.
“The song is about knowing that war is on the way and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. No matter how much you do, no matter how much you shout. You can’t stop it. The fear involved in that must be very low-slung and pernicious. I just wanted to reflect that. I wanted to show the seriousness of the story without being too heavy-handed about it.”
Bradfield added: “It shows the seriousness of where all of Victor’s music came from and how he wanted to avoid bloodshed and people being dissociated from each other – whether the peasant class, working class or ruling class. He wanted everyone to realise that they were one and they were a people. He didn’t want that to be hijacked by a right-wing that would see Chile just as an investment. He wanted it to have a voice. The popular front government was inclusive and not so left-wing to scare all investors away, but they were socialist. Still, the right came and shut them down. ‘There Will Come A War’ just shows all the things that they were trying to avoid.”
Meanwhile, ‘Seeking The Room With Three Windows’ showcases the eclectic nature of the record as sprawling instrumental.
“That’s more of a flight of fancy,” said Bradfield. “When myself and Patrick realised that I was going to use his lyrics on a record, we had sessions where we would just look at pictures and stuff. It was kind of fun, like an art project almost. He showed this amazing picture of Victor Jare stood just above Machu Picchu with his acoustic guitar and the wind has just caught his poncho. The fact that he carried his guitar up thousands of feet into the gods just to have the experience is something I fell in love with. The picture is a fantasy made real, it looks like organic prog! It screams, ‘I’ve got the freedom to do what I want’, and I found it as inspiring as anything.”
Bradfield added: “He’d gone to Peru to trace the cultural lineage, story and music of the South American people before European imperialism – to collect experience and songs, and this just captured something special. I was trying to capture Victor’s joy of being on that tour and the indigenous spirit of the land – whether in Peru, Chlie or Bolivia. It just shows all of the things that he was inspired by, and all of the things that inspired joy and love. He was trying to find that one voice that unified South America to avoid bloodshed.”
“I was trying to write words and Sean and I were less engaged,” Wire told NME. “James was bursting as he always is. My brother wrote all the lyrics for James’ album. Every time I came into the studio, he’d had another track done. His guitar is extraordinary on there. It’s like Alex Lifeson from Rush meets Johnny Marr. He put a lot of his electricity into that. I was more than happy for him to go on because I needed to take a bit more time over words really.”
Manic Street Preachers’ recently reissued their 1993 album ‘Gold Against The Soul’ and shared the live film meets documentary ‘Pieces Of Sleep’ featuring unseen footage from the era. They are currently set to play two free shows for the NHS in Cardiff this December.
The Manics also revealed they’re working on the follow-up to 2018’s acclaimed ‘Resistance Is Futile‘ with Wire telling NME that the record was sounding “expansive” and would be due in 2021. Next year, the band also have stadium support shows booked with The Killers before heading to Scandinavia with Green Day.