Manic Street Preachers tease ‘Know Your Enemy’ reissue

The band previously told NME of unheard tracks and "boxes of stuff" to come for the album's anniversary

The Manic Street Preachers have hinted that a new ‘Know Your Enemy’ reissue will be coming soon, with an announcement expected later this week.

On their social media profiles, the band shared a teaser clip of visuals for the anniversary celebrations of the album, along with a date – this Friday, (July 22) at 9am BST. A trailer featuring music video and studio footage from the ‘Know Your Enemy’ era was then shared.

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Last year, the band spoke to NME about the reissue, explaining that they’d been working on putting together the long-mooted re-release of their sixth album from 2001.

The album, which contained the singles ‘Found That Soul’, ‘So Why So Sad’ and ‘Let Robeson Sing’, split opinion upon its release. A sprawling record with a heavily eclectic mix of sounds and some of their most overt political imagery, it alienated much of the new fanbase who were 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.

Asked about the progress on the reissue during a conversation with NME last year, Nicky Wire replied: “It is staring at me right now! There are two boxes of stuff. I’m sat in the studio with our engineer and it’s there, confronting me.”

He continued: “It was quite exciting because I’ve actually discovered two songs that have never been released. Unless I’ve made a fuck-up somewhere, there’s a song called ‘Rosebud’, which no-one has ever heard, and another called ‘Studies In Paralysis’ which has never been heard, plus a completely different version of ‘Let Robeson Sing’ that James [Dean Bradfield, frontman] did in his flat in London on a keyboard, and bares no resemblance to what it became.

“There are actually a lot of goodies. Even I’m quite giddy with excitement. James and Sean [Moore, drummer] weren’t arsed though…”

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Wire also revealed that he plans to fulfil the band’s original intention for the record with the upcoming re-release by separating it into two separate albums called ‘Solidarity’ and ‘Door To The River’, showcasing its distinct hard-rock and more acoustic, experimental side.

Asked if they might perform special ‘Know Your Enemy’ anniversary shows, Wire replied: “I wish I could say! To be honest, there’s a lot to fucking learn. When we recorded that album, we never played in the same room. It was all purposefully on the edge. It was really punky. A lot of demos became songs, we were doing ideas on our own. I don’t think we could pull off a whole show.”

Manic Street Preachers return with 'The Ultra Vivid Lament'. Credit: Alex Lake
Manic Street Preachers CREDIT: Alex Lake

Revisiting the split reaction that ‘Know Your Enemy’ received back in 2001, Bradfield said: “Sometimes an indelible part of a band’s direction that they take is just a way to childishly wreck their own success.

“That’s what ‘Know Your Enemy’ is, to a certain degree. It’s us reacting to albums in a row, ‘Everything Must Go’ and ‘This Is My Truth’, being massive albums in Britain alone – one sold 1.3 million copies and the other 1.5 just in the UK. Then we just childishly and churlishly go and accuse ourselves of being too successful, bloated and pleased with ourselves by writing ‘Know Your Enemy’.”

He continued: “When I hear ‘Know Your Enemy’ I hear that we did a good job of dismantling the success that we’d built up over those two albums. Sometimes you thought the press had it in for you, but we probably had it in for ourselves more.”

Reviewing the album at the time of its releaseNME 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.”

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