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Lostprophets - The Betrayed

Welsh wonders return to form.

Released 18 Jan 2010 // By Phill May // Rating: 4/5
Lostprophets - The Betrayed

About bloody time, too! It’s been almost four hundred years since Lostprophets released an album, so it’s relieving to find that their latest is actually an absolute blinder. After scrapping an album’s worth of material for being too slick, they took the ‘if you want something done right’ route and handed over production duties to Stuart Richardson, who’s done a great job making these stadium-sized anthems a bit more rough-and-ready. We were getting impatient when we spoke to them at the start of 2008, but the time spent has resulted in a huge return.

Opener ‘If It Wasn’t For Hate’ sets a tone, and gives a chance for Ian Watkins to put a message across to their detractors. It’s followed by potential single after potential single, but these aren’t play-it-safe pop nuggets. ‘Dstryr/Destryr’ – a more aggressive successor to ‘Burn Burn’ – is one of the album’s strongest moments, driven by a fantastic guitar hook and destined to be a live favourite for years to come. Actual singles ‘It’s Not The End Of The World...’ and ‘Where We Belong’ put forward a case that creating catchy anthems is easier for the band than counting to ten, and don’t be put off by the traumatising memories of Hard-Fi that the opening of ‘For He’s A Jolly Good Felon’ conjure, it gets much better and just shows that the band want to vary the ways they make memorable songs. It’s there in ‘Dirty Little Heart’s The Cure-esque keyboards and the way everything goes all Nine Inch Nails for the following interlude.

There was much talk of this album being ‘darker’ than previous offerings, but this only really involves the lyrical content. So even when things get dark, it’s difficult not to have a good time with Lostprophets. For instance, despite its despondent lyrics, ‘The Darkest Blue’ could have been easily slotted in on 'Liberation Transmission'. 'The Betrayed’s finest moments belong to ‘Next Stop Atro City’ and ‘The Light That Shines Twice As Bright’, though; the former a thundering mosher reminiscent of ‘Weenie Beenie’ from Foo Fighters’ debut, the latter being the phenomenal closer – a slower-paced, brooding number that sees the band at their most dynamic, bringing things to a close with piano and a wall of glitching electronics.

More dramatic, more dynamic and more urgent than 'Liberation Transmission', it may not surpass the quality of previous releases, but 'The Betrayed' has that perfect blend of development and familiarity that make it an excellent next step for the band. It was well worth the wait, we just hope we don’t have to hold on so long for the next one.