Songs in praise of right-wing Republican Presidents aren't exactly very fashionable at the moment. So full marks to the Manic Street Preachers, whose affecting hit single 'The Secret Love of Richard Nixon' suggests that maybe the old rogue wasn't so bad after all. The ageing Welsh firebrands are actually full of surprises on their new album, toning down the agit-prop in favour of mature, soulful rock and more than a few oblique tributes to their old mate Richey Edwards, now missing for almost ten years. A shame, then, that the Manics' biggest problem is still present and correct - pretentious, unfocussed lyrics that regurgitate ideas from books and films without adding any new insights of their own. Still, Lifeblood is certainly their best album since their career breakthrough Everything Must Go - and there's a defiant spirit here that suggests there's plenty of life in the old dogs yet.