The Manic Street Preachers are working on an ''acoustic soul'' album.

The 'If You Tolerate This, Your Children Will Be Next' group have dropped their original plan to record a huge album called '70 Songs of Hatred and Failure', after the tracks they were writing started to separate into two distinctly different groups.

Bass player Nicky Wire said: ''We haven't covered anything up with noise, like loud guitars or string sections. As a band there's nothing to hide behind. It's frightening to think how we'll play it live. On the upside, it means that me and Sean [Moore, drummer] can sit in the dressing room for half the gig while James [Dean Bradfield, singer and guitarist] does all the f***ing work.''

While the sounds of the album - tentatively titled 'Rewind the Film' - may have become softer, the lyrical themes will be as political as ever, with one track, 'Thirty Year War', railing against the governing Conservative Party in Britain.

Nicky added to Q magazine: ''People expected me to be banging on about [former Prime Minister] Margaret Thatcher when she died, but everything I thought was already in 'Thirty Year War', a song we wrote six months ago. It addresses everything from the roots of Thatcherism through to Hillsborough and Orgreave, right through to now.''