Released on: Found That Soul (Single #26) Epic Records, 26 February 2001
Peak UK Chart Position: #9
Band Ranking: #13
As the first such song on the Found That Soul single, ‘Locust Valley’ inaugurates a new era of Manic Street Preachers B-sides and makes clear from the outset that a heightened experimentalism will be a feature of the Know Your Enemy period. In this case, the unusual element is that after a brief introduction during which the song seems to emerge out of a void, at least two distinct and interlocking modes jostle for position throughout the song. One is a fairly straightforwardly hard-rocking sound, the other being more subdued and electronic. The chorus almost combines the two but is more ramshackle, with added acoustic guitar.
Appropriately for such an emphatically odd song, the lyrics are quite cryptic, although the title is easily traced. Locust Valley is a hamlet in New York state, specifically on the northern shore of Long Island (which is also mentioned in the lyrics). The area is known for its extremely wealthy population of the American elite, very high-quality schools and proliferation of elite and exclusive country clubs. Famous residents have included various members of the Roosevelt family and infamous banker J.P. Morgan.
Despite the very specific reference to a unique place in the song’s title, there is little – if anything – in the lyrics that can be directly related to Locust Valley or that can be made sense of. The real point of this song, however, is to simply revel in its determined strangeness and to wonder what can come of a period in Manics history where the creative gloves seem to be off.
Choice Lyric (Full Lyrics)
“I don’t need it, I don’t fear it”