Albums are coming thick and fast from the revitalised Manic Street Preachers, this one a mere nine months after the stripped-back delights of Rewind The Film.

But while Futurology deserves applause for trying to do something different, it wins a chorus of disapproval for doing so with such easy-to-mock pomposity. I've heard the word "krautrock" thrown around, but it's not enough to simply record your album in the Hansa studios in Berlin and add a jackboot march beneath actress Nina Hoss chanting in German on Europa Geht Durch Mich. Stopping short of becoming a concept album, it launches a sustained attack on post-crash greed and the power of art to combat it. We have been here with the Manics before - which is kind of the point - but this time they have fallen into the trap of being blinded to melody by the issue that is clamped between their teeth. "I am the Sturm und Drang/I am the Schadenfraude" sings James Dean Bradfield on Misguided Missile; play this to the early, angry, sloganeering Manics, and they would have laughed in its over-earnest face.

Alan Morrison

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