Following on the heels of their greatest hits selection-with-a-somewhat-suspect-tracklisting, the UKís finest ex-Commie-leaning political guitar heroes have done much better with their B-sides and rarities package, partially due to the fact that the tracklisting was chosen by a fan poll. The Manic Street Preachers have made up for the disappointment that was Forever Delayed by issuing a 2CD set called Lipstick Traces: A Secret History Of the Manic Street Preachers. This 35-track collection of wonderfulness collects B-sides from throughout the bands career on disc one and culls cover versions and live tracks for disc two. Sounds tasty, right? It is. There are even two previously unreleased tracks, the driving ì4Ever Delayedî and the punchy ìJudge Yríself,î the former being initially planned a s a single during the bandís heyday and the second being the last song ever recorded with the still-missing guitarist Richey Edwards, for the Judge Dredd soundtrack. The B-sides are mostly quality, from the excellent album opener, 1998ís ìPrologue To Historyî to early work like 1993ís ìDonkeysî and ìComfort Comesî to the two newbies. The rarities collection is equally special, bringing to disc covers of The Clash, Nirvana, Burt Bacharach, Primal Scream, Wham(!) and even Guns 'N Roses, who the Welshmen were compared to early in their career. After the lackluster Forever Delayed compilation, its nice to see the band (and fans) get this one right.
JEREMY P. GOLDSTEIN