Manic Street Preachers: Journal For Plague Lovers (Columbia)

It’s hard to talk about the Manics without mentioning guitarist Richey James Edwards, who went missing in ’95. 14 years in the making, with lyrics written by Edwards just before his disappearance, Journal is being hailed as the sequel to the highly acclaimed The Holy Bible. Produced by Steve Albini (who was adored by Edwards for his work on Nirvana’s In Utero), Journal sees the Manics returning to their art punk roots in honour of their lost comrade. However, unlike Holy Bible, which is the band’s bleakest album, Edward’s lyrics here are a reason to go on fighting. And the Manics know that.