“We just wanted to crush the opposition,” says Nicky Wire in a 76-minute film called Culture, Alienation, Boredom and Despair, part of a repackaging (plus demos, videos and bonus tracks) of the Manics’ debut fusillade. Even now, Generation Terrorists vibrates with punky wrath, as generated by four people with nothing to lose. It’s a sprawling mess, but vitally alive, and oddly prescient: Nat West–Barclays–Midlands–Lloyds anticipates the banking crisis, and Slash’n’Burn refers to a catastrophic oil spill. A 1991 segment from the show Rapido introduces them as a band “aimed at those young enough to have missed out on punk – there’s no hint of wah-wah guitar with this Welsh bunch”. In the brief interview that follows, Richey Edwards gloomily elaborates: “You can’t do anything to reconstruct [punk], you haven’t got enough money to do anything.” Unquestionably, though, they reconstructed its spirit on this album.
Manic Street Preachers: Generation Terrorists (20th anniversary edition) – review
Caroline Sullivan writes about rock and pop for the Guardian