[sic] Magazine

Mansun – Attack Of the Grey Lantern, 3 disc collectors re-issue.

Air-raid sirens, cross-dressing accountants, S&M vicars and little Jimmy Osmond. You just had to love Mansun . So out of time, at the time, that they became instantly timeless. This album, first released in 1997 hasn’t aged a jot and that, in my book, makes it a classic. We could have featured Attack Of The Grey Lantern in our classics revisited section were it not for the fact that we already covered Mansuns sprawling follow-up, Six. We can’t give Draper all the accolades. In any case, ‘revisited’ is for overlooked classics. Attack went to UK number 1 and even kept Blur off top spot. Hardly overlooked.

Seems foolish to think that Mansun were deemed Britpop at the time. I guess that’s symptomatic of the mainstream press. Anything that moved was Britpop. True they had something Beatlesque going on. The drums on ‘Taxloss’ are very Revolver while the outro to ‘Dark Mavis’ nods knowingly towards ‘Day In The Life’. But Mansun were bigger than that. Bigger, bolder and far more brazen. They were adding some Sparks and Roxy into the picture. The new romantics may have worn more make up (debatable) but few were as kinky as Mansun.

This is a three disc celebration and believe me when I say that for once the extras are well worth discovering. The album itself was and is perfect but the truly mind-blowing aspect is the discovery that many of the other tracks from that era could easily have made the cut. Instead, such gems as ‘Ski Jump Nose’ found their way onto legendary early EPs. Mansun were a fans’ dream. Going further still, I find it difficult to this day to accept that ‘Take It Easy Chicken’ and my all time favourite Mansun track ‘Everyone Must Win’, did not feature on the album. At least now, they sort of do alongside virtually every track from the Attack era.

The feature album kicks off with ‘The Chad Who Loved Me’, a Bond theme that never was, before embarking on a whistle-stop tour of the ficticious town of Draper’s own imagination. It’s a curtain twitchers record. It’s Hollyoakes, meets Shameless, meets The League Of Gentlemen. A musical soap. Only, you’re not sure you want to see into many of these houses.

By now you’re probably thinking this sounds grotesque but only if you never once heard Mansun. The thing you have to know is that the music was so good. The tunes were the glue that wrapped it all up and held it together. Hit after hit after hit. We had the singles, ‘Stripper Vicar’, ‘Egg Shaped Fred’, ‘Taxlo$$’, ‘She Makes My Nose Bleed’ and of course the quite majestic ‘Wide Open Space’. Now, with 20:20 hindsight, I’d have to say even those nuggets were eclipsed by the superlative ‘Disgusting’.

By the end it is clear that they were taking the piss. ‘Lyrical Trainspotter’ makes perfectly clear that in Mansun’s world your tongue should be kept firmly in cheek. ‘Six’ may have been their flawed masterpiece, but Attack remains the entry level, go to , Mansun album and this lavish, 3 disc, set is a must-have.

~The collectors edition is released June 7th on EMI/Parlophone.~

Six – classic album review

Paul Draper Interview

Paul Draper Website