James Dean Bradfield's Even In Exile: shining a light on dark history

Even In Exile is Manics man James Dean Bradfield’s contemplative paean to Chilean activist/ artist Victor Jara

James Dean Bradfield - Even In Exile
(Image: © Montyray)

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"Manics man’s contemplative paean to Chilean activist/ artist Victor Jara."

If you were to read out the above line at a film-pitch meeting, it’s unlikely you’d get a green light and the budget you were dreaming of. In the hands of Manic Street Preachers singer Bradfield, though, it becomes a dream realised. 

Written around songs and lyrics by playwright Patrick Jones (Nicky Wire’s brother) and recorded in near-isolation, Bradfield playing just about everything himself, at the Manics’ studio, the doomed poet’s life is made over again with a musical playbook that references Rush as easily as it does Johnny Marr and Man.

It’s extraordinary, reading like the loose pages of a novel, scattered notes cast adrift on the singular piano refrain of a song like There’ll Come A War, the gentle lull of Under The Mimosa Tree, or the instrumental guitar whirlwind that is Seeking The Room With The Three Windows

Bradfield’s invention knows no bounds as he shines light on the darkest corners of history.

Philip Wilding is a novelist, journalist, scriptwriter, biographer and radio producer. As a young journalist he criss-crossed most of the United States with bands like Motley Crue, Kiss and Poison (think the Almost Famous movie but with more hairspray). More latterly, he’s sat down to chat with bands like the slightly more erudite Manic Street Preachers, Afghan Whigs, Rush and Marillion.