Manic Street Preachers
Wales' most successful pop export since Tom Jones started draping panties over his microphone stand, Manic Street Preachers have drastically altered their sound over the course of their lengthy career. Without sacrificing one iota of their grandiose musical ideal, the trio of childhood friends has achieved extraordinary commercial and critical success, particularly in light of the mysterious and well-chronicled 1995 disappearance of guitarist/band figurehead Richey James. Where once there were slick, pounding drums, synth flourishes and confrontational, buzzing guitars ("Motorcycle Emptiness," "Faster"), there are now organic drum textures, epic string arrangements and sweet guitars ("A Design For Life," "My Little Empire"). Once merely a cult band with a rabidly intense fan base, the Manics had become the biggest band in the non-North American universe by millennium's end, eclipsing their more pop-focused Brit brethren Oasis and Blur in popularity and critical accolades with the era-defining albums Everything Must Go (1996) and This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours (1998).