In honour of Attack of The Grey Lantern’s 21st anniversary and Paul Draper’s ongoing tour which celebrates this by playing the album in full I thought it would be time to revisit my classic album reviews. And what better way to kick some life back into it with some 90’s goodness!
Mansun are a British alternative rock band that were founded in 1995. With Paul Draper’s unique singing at the helm they saw a fair amount of success in the late 90’s before splitting up in the early 2000’s. What made the band so unique was their eclectic mix of synthed out guitars, quiet ongoing drumming and, of course, the aforementioned Paul Draper.
The album opens with the long, slow build up of “The Chad Who loved Me”. It’s a great opener in terms of building so many different sounds into the album right at the very beginning but it also creates a light opener with this dark and mysterious undertone running right through the depths of this album. This is also represented on the cover, a beautiful painting but the use of dark colours insinuates something very sinister at the heart of the album. And ultimately, that sinister tone only lies within the soundscape of the albums with the darkly warped guitars and the drumming running through the undergrowth.
The highlight of this album has to come from the track "Wide Open Space", which among other things, is just so thoroughly entertaining as a song. It's understandable how this was a hit for them during the album release cycle. It's also on here where Paul Draper really gets to flex his vocal chords and show the extent he can go to both high and low.
"Taxlo$$" is another of the songs which intrigues me aswell because it appears to bare some sort of resemblance or homage to The Beatles' "Taxman". Now whether that is a coincidence or not I don't know but it's always fun to see people carrying on the persona and story of other legendary tracks to their own style and Mansun did this incredibly well if that was their intention.
Ultimately, it is a shame that Mansun split up in 2003 but I feel that their music perfectly encapsulated those late 1990's years with the mixture of grunge and dance and all the other genres that were flying about it was very hard to craft your own style without just making a britpop album. So it is a shame but I just don't think they could have held up against the early new wave of the 2000's.