Robin Black and his cohorts have a quota on shock value during the live performances, but attempting to bottle such energy and frantic action on the group's debut disc is a daunting task. Early images of the Manic Street Preachers litter the album, particularly the opening T.V. Trash, but the song comes across as a bit overproduced and lightweight. Thankfully, Some Of You Boys has a constant radio-friendly riff which sonically kickstarts the record. Unfortunately, a good portion of the early tracks resonates with a very formulaic rock formula, which loses a lot of the energy the group is more than capable of. Black is supported by a credible bunch of veteran musicians and it shows through on Time Travel Tonight, which tends to lose some of its steam during the chorus. Lyrically, the album isn't a masterpiece, with many of the lyrics being cliched years prior. After reaching its nadir in the boring ballad of Take Myself Away, the group returns to its strong point on Plastic Fantastic and So Sick Of You. Guitar based and rhythm based, the band are at their best when at their overt, gender-bending best on More Effeminate Than You, which works well due to the lack of backing harmony or "sha-la-las". The album is a good start for the group and ends on a series of high hidden track notes, but a bit more refinement and "live" feeling is needed for future and longstanding successes.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jason MacNeil