The Manic Street Preachers or simply "The Manics" were a provocative pop/rock band that formed in 1991 sporting glam get up and enough eyeliner to choke Paris Hilton. The Manic Street Preachers consisted of James Dean Bradfield (lead guitarist and vocalist), Nicky Wire (bassist), Sean Moore (drummer/percussionist) and Richie James (rhythm guitarist and lyricist) and have gorgeous catalogue that spans the greater part of twenty years. Early on the Manics were out to make a statement during time in British music that was doing no such thing. They wanted to be louder than what the electronic dance the U.K. was producing mountains of at the time. They wanted to say something musically that no one had really done in that part of the world since the Clash and the Pistols. This band differed as they wanted to please and persuade you rather then just force their material and ideas down your throat as many had previously. People often remember this time for an accident of which highly prolific lyricist Richey James Edwards carved the words "4REAL" into his forearm just missing an artery with a razor blade requiring him to have many stitches after the bands authenticity was questioned.
In the beginning as Brit-pop ruled the charts it was difficult for the band to make a solid go at fame. They did however begin to earn what would be the start of a great following. Eventually they would go on to have eight top ten records, fifteen top ten singles and hit number one three times. The BRIT Awards have voted them "Best British Group" and the band was awarded "Best British Album" in years 1997 and 1999. Three records in, the severely depressed Richey James Edwards went missing in February of 1995 and is presumed deceased to this day. The same month Edwards went missing his car was found near Severn Bridge a bridge located South West England to South Wales that was famous for suicide in past. Despite Edwards lack of musical talent often doing the Sid Vicious thing and hardly playing at times standing on stage more less faking it, he was the constant direction for band and is said to wrote up to 3/4 of the bands lyrics on "The Holy Bible" and has three sole credits as well received a co-write on another two tracks for "Everything Must Go", these were probably the most successful records. The band went on to produce six more records, the last "Journal for Plague Lovers" in (2009) features the lyrics of Edwards left to band from before he west missing. It is said to be a tribute to the lyricist.
If you want to hear a angst-ridden, cynical alternative/pop/rock/Brit-pop band that is plaintive yet often theatrical and provocative... the Manic Street Preachers are for you!!
Another U.K. band that does tremendously well in their home land but does get the credit they deserve in the North America... sad, however I am okay with it as long as the BRITS keep producing fantastic bands.
I suggest you start with 1992's "Generation Terrorists" starting with tracks "Slash 'N' Burn", "Stay Beautiful", "You Love Us" and "Methadone Pretty" before graduating to 2007's "Send Away The Tigers" with tracks like "I'm Just a Patsy" and "Imperial Bodybags" and finally checking out their brilliant most recent work 2009's "Journal for Plague Lovers" in it's entirety.
More simply put, if you want to check out a brilliant band with brilliant lyrics and perfect songs check out the Manics!