Mansun - Attack of the Grey Lantern (1997)

Posted by Amelia Swhizzagers On 5:00 AM

Amazing that this magnificent debut album should be so underrated as to be undiscovered country for so many people. It's a classic for so many reasons - as has been said, there isn't a weak track on the album. Most people remember Wide Open Space as a 90s anthem, as well as the other singles Taxloss and She Makes My Nose Bleed, but all the songs share the same quality, wit and bizarre sense of humour. Mansun's achievement is in making an album so full of catchy tunes and singalong choruses which is at the same time so eccentric, dark, hypnotic and surreal. Paul Draper has a superb voice, one moment singing angelically like a choirboy and the next belting out the loud and electrifying anthems elsewhere. The album is bursting with ideas and innovation, it flows through your head like a dream and you're guaranteed to find yourself singing different bits of it to yourself when you least expect to!
Attack of the Grey Lantern loosely tells the story of 'Mavis' and her father, a vicar who combines his respectable day-job with a kinky alter-ego as a stripper and drag queen, and who dies presumably as a result of his activities. The story carries it's own fascination from one fantastic song to the next - Stripper Vicar is quite simply one of the greatest songs of the 90s and tells the tale with hilarious lyrics ("I think he got suspended in his stockings and suspenders, and he's making wine from water while he dresses like his daughter, and we know that he's a rip off cos we've seen him with his kit off!") while elsewhere we hear poignant and beautiful songs such as Dark Mavis with it's soaring string section and sombre description of the funeral arrangements. The anthemic outro is done with great passion and feeling, before rejoining the majestic Bond-style piece of orchestral classical music that opened the first song. As it finishes you sit in awe, contemplating the brilliance of the album and the strange story it told...until the excellent, poppy hidden track kicks in and Draper reveals that "the lyrics aren't supposed to mean that much, they're just a vehicle for a lovely voice!" Brilliant by A Customer
1. The Chad Who Loved Me
2. Mansun's Only Love Song
3. Taxloss
4. You Who Do You Hate
5. Wide Open Space
6. Stripper Vicar
7. Disgusting
8. She Makes My Nose Bleed
9. Naked Twister
10. Egg Shaped Fred
11. Dark Mavis
12. An Open Letter To The Lyrical Trainspotter

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