The If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next creators are masters of bittersweet pop. Opener Snowing In Sapporo is armchair-travel ear candy. Clocking in at six minutes (still too short!), the soaring, us-against-the-world octave leaps during this song’s choruses are soul medicine.

During The Secret He Had Missed (feat. Julia Cumming), which has been described as “cousin” to The Girl Who Wanted To Be God (from the Welsh band’s classic fourth album Everything Must Go), dramatic keys evoke ABBA’s Waterloo. Mark Lanegan’s Johnny Cash-deep baritone is a glorious, moody addition to Blank Diary Entry.

Poetic lyrics demand undivided attention (“And in the rhythm of your voice, I find space to rejoice/ My complicated illusions leave me with no choice”) and bassist/lyricist Nicky Wire’s tongue-twisters (e.g. “derelict digitised”) test lead vocalist/guitarist James Dean Bradfield’s enunciation throughout.

After losing both his parents within a couple of years, Wire has admitted he felt “overwhelmed.” He worked through some of these feelings via this album’s lyrical content and, as such, a melancholic, glacial undercurrent flows through The Ultra Vivid Lament. Never has an album been more aptly titled.

The Ultra Vivid Lament by Manic Street Preachers is out Sept 10  via Sony.

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

Keep up with the latest Australian release dates for music.