Alot of music magazines and fans (and at the moent, even the band themselves) slagged this album off. Ive no idea why, except that those writers are fools.
Musically the album is beautiful and more melancholic than the albums before and after (Know Your Enemy and Send Away The Tigers) though this shouldnt be mistaken for 'despressing'. the songs on this album have FEELING, which i didnt feel KYE and SATT possess despite it being really polished.
granted there are some stinkers on this album (Emily in particular, is clumsy and boring) but there are many standout tracks including A Song For Departure, Solitude Sometimes Is and 1985. This album is excellent. It's not the Manics' best (but i doubt they could ever top Everything Must Go and The Holy Bible) but definately worth getting, even if you're a casual listener.