Author Topic: Mansun appreciation thread  (Read 2116 times)

Mansun appreciation thread
« on: March 31, 2021, 11:08:59 PM »
Since there's been a few posts on them recently in the 'bands who are never getting back together' thread, let's have a Mansun thread.

As I said, I'm surprised Wide Open Space is the one everyone knows and not Stripper Vicar.

Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2021, 11:49:26 PM »

I revisited Attack Of The Grey Lantern last year for the first time since it failed to survive my mid 2000s CD cull and it knocked me out. A terrific blend of glam, psychedelia and prog rock, it sounded so much better than I'd remembered. Head and shoulders above most of its 1997 Britpop contemporaries.

Back in 1998, a friend of mine, who I won't name but she had brief success in an early 00s Britpoppy indie band, had a near-stalker level obsession with Paul Draper. It didn't occur to me at the time that it probably wasn't the greatest idea to get a train to Chester in the hope that she'd end up bumping into him.

I've always admired the audacity of chucking 25 grand in five pound notes over a balcony for the Taxlo$$ video.

Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2021, 12:00:40 AM »
I would have said Taxloss was the most famous Mansun song, as that video was all over MTV at the time.

purlieu

  • Gertrude Stein said that's enough.
Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2021, 12:03:05 AM »
I knew Wide Open Space was one of the best known tracks, but for me it's always been I Can Only Disappoint U that I've come across in wider culture.

Attack of the Grey Lantern is basically like all the best bits of britpop with all the worst bits removed, and then a bunch of glam and '80s new wave stuff added. It's a glorious album.
Six is a masterpiece, melding punk, prog, glam, post-rock, and electronica into a collage that manages to be utterly bewildering and hugely catchy at the same time. 'Cancer' is one of my all-time favourite songs, especially the second half from when the piano takes over. Those shimmering slow-attack guitar chords in the final verses are stunning, and it's one of Draper's best vocal melodies.
Little Kix is hugely flawed, but still shows that Paul Draper could come up with some great songs even in awful circumstances. I'll never, ever understand record labels who force bands to become something they're not in the hope that it'll encourage sales. It happened on the third Cooper Temple Clause album (a band whose career almost exactly mirrored that of Mansun's) and half of their fanbase turned their nose up, and it was exactly the same here. Still, 'Butterfly', 'I Can Only Disappoint U', 'Comes as No Surprise', 'Until the Next Life' and 'Goodbye' are as good as anything from the first two albums.
Kleptomania has a few bright spots, but it's basically a bit of a meat-and-potatoes indie rock album and, despite Draper's knack for unusual chord changes, really feels like a band running on fumes. What they regained in energy they lost in originality, and I think it doesn't warrant a position more than a curio, in the grand scheme of things.

The Dead Flowers Reject, the Six b-sides album that got a 'proper' release for that album's 21st anniversary, is a real revelation and is an exceptional album in its own right. It's probably the record Parlophone were hoping Six would be: throw in a couple of Six's singles and it's definitely more of an AotGL pt II than Six ever could have been. Kudos to them for not going down that route (the same attitude that made 'Closed for Business' the lead track for the between-album EP), despite the potential commercial damage.
I do wonder whether, if Parlophone had backed the third album properly - and let's be honest, a number six placing in the album charts and their highest charting single was hardly a flop in any sense; to draw a comparison with another unfairly criticised group in the Back Together thread, Parlophone signed The Divine Comedy who went on to make a comparative commercial flop, and still gave Neil Hannon the funds to follow it up with a self-produced almost entirely orchestral album - Draper's intended version of Little Kix would have fared better with critics and fans, and the group would have stayed together to make another few fascinating albums. Or maybe Kleptomania was the inevitable 'ok' final album regardless.

It's sad that it took so bloody long for Draper to release a solo album, especially given how good it is. It definitely feels like a spiritual successor to Six. And then the whole thing was tainted by the support band pulling out of the tour because he behaved inappropriately to the singer online. From his behaviour at less-than-ideal gigs and on social media, it's clear that he's got a lot of mental health problems and probably has issues with alcohol, and I wish he'd get help with these instead of being fucking stupid online because it's really not on.
The new one must be out soon, right? I know it was scheduled for last year, so I'm hoping we get a release date soon.

Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2021, 12:04:54 AM »
Like Ultrasound I did think they were a bit patchy but when it worked it worked very well, Wide Open Space, Take It Easy Chucken, Being a Girl, etc.

That whole post Britpop era though in retrospect was a bit of snuffed out potential wasnt it? Radiohead's populairty lasted but so many of the best bands of that era had interest dry up when they didnt sell on the level of Oasis/Blur and the industry seemed to shift to simple strokes like nu garage rock.

purlieu

  • Gertrude Stein said that's enough.
Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2021, 12:07:14 AM »
Head and shoulders above most of its 1997 Britpop contemporaries.
Yeah, there are definitely britpop comparisons to be made to some of the singles, but overall it exists in the same musical world as albums like Blur, OK Computer, Dog Man Star and C'Mon Kids - born of the same era as britpop, but placing emphasis on expansive sound, unusual song structures, atmospherics and texture over straight-forward poppiness. There's pretty much no trace of '60s guitar pop in there at all.

daf

  • Insect movement by Roslyn De Winter
Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2021, 12:11:25 AM »
Thanks for the thread Kankurette!

Kleptomania has a few bright spots, but it's basically a bit of a meat-and-potatoes indie rock album and, despite Draper's knack for unusual chord changes, really feels like a band running on fumes. What they regained in energy they lost in originality, and I think it doesn't warrant a position more than a curio, in the grand scheme of things.

Oh I like this one a lot - infact, it's my second favourite behind Six. Doesn't sound like a band falling apart to me, or if it does, that only enhances the "vibe". My favourite : Love Remains

purlieu

  • Gertrude Stein said that's enough.
Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2021, 12:24:16 AM »
That whole post Britpop era though in retrospect was a bit of snuffed out potential wasnt it? Radiohead's populairty lasted but so many of the best bands of that era had interest dry up when they didnt sell on the level of Oasis/Blur and the industry seemed to shift to simple strokes like nu garage rock.
There was a definite move away from the meat-and-potatoes rock that britpop had become, the likes of the albums I mentioned in my previous post being great examples, but depressingly it was Urban Hymns (particularly its singles, as there are a handful of nice textural tracks on the album's second half) and Embrace's first album that really set the pattern for what was to become post-britpop: all the anthemic, hands-in-the-air faux-emotion of 'Champagne Supernova' without any of the attitude or swagger that made Oasis successful when they started. You can still hear Radiohead-isms in Travis's Nigel Godrich production and Coldplay's moody falsetto stuff, but overall we ended up with those groups, Athlete, Starsailor, that Turin Breaks album that somehow became successful, Stereophonics once they'd shed their small-town stories and melodicism, Cerys Matthews singing with Tom Jones, and fucking Hurricane #1, which ultimately led to Keane and, disastrously, The Feeling.

Late '96 through to early '99 had so much potential to take mainstream listeners into more interesting territories: The Boo Radleys throwing in noise-rock and psychedelia, Radiohead and Mansun experimenting with prog, electronica and atmospherics, Blur channelling Pavement, Guided by Voices and Can, Pulp releasing a cocaine-comedown epic. Even Suede's fairly dire attempt at electronica on Head Music could have opened up some ears, with the amount of press the album got. Meanwhile, the likes of The Divine Comedy and even the Lightning Seeds channeled pre-Millennium angst on their 1999 albums, and the Manics did a sprawling, 65 minute ambient-tinged art-rock album. Major labels were still diversifying, picking up on the chaotic indie-punk of bands like Idlewild. In the end, however, people just wanted another Wonderwall and so 'Come Back to What You Know', 'Why Does it Always Rain On Me?', 'Yellow' and 'Just Looking' won out.

By late 2000 I'd pretty much stopped listening to the charts, so the arrival of The White Stripes, The Strokes, The Hives, etc. meant nothing to me, but I can definitely understand why indie crowds went mad for them.

daf

  • Insect movement by Roslyn De Winter
Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2021, 12:25:20 AM »
the arrival of The White Stripes, The Strokes, The Hives, etc. meant nothing to me

Ohhhhhh Vienna!

purlieu

  • Gertrude Stein said that's enough.
Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2021, 12:29:20 AM »
Oh I like this one a lot - infact, it's my second favourite behind Six. Doesn't sound like a band falling apart to me, or if it does, that only enhances the "vibe". My favourite : Love Remains
There's still some good songwriting, but the arrangements don't feel like they were really trying. Where are the sweeping orchestral intros, the extended suites, the sudden left-turns into electronica, the atmospheric interludes? I know the final version we have is basically only two-thirds finished, so there could have been more, but ultimately it feels like a b-sides collection to me: some good songs, but not much effort put into fleshing them out.
'Love Remains' and 'Getting Your Way' are particularly good, I will admit.

Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2021, 12:37:37 AM »
Know next to nothing about this band except to say the single "Legacy" is a cracker that has stayed with me for decades despite only hearing it a couple of times in the mid ninetees. The lyrics...

I concede relationships have left me weak
Won't be here so I don't care

Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2021, 08:58:15 AM »
Yeah, the support band were Estrons. Their singer wrote a long post about it on Facebook.

Would also add SFA and Space[1] to the list of bands whose stuff came out when Britpop were a thing, but weren’t really part of the whole ‘movement’.
 1. I’m aware that admitting to liking Space is probably not a good idea as everyone fucking hated them in the 90s but dammit I love them

Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2021, 09:16:25 AM »
Mansun were one of the very few bands of that time that my teenage self thought were worth spending what little money I had on. Radiohead were another, but as I moved into my 20s, I found the Oxford lads a bit tiresome while 'Six' still gets a spin a good three or four times a year - I do think it's streets ahead of 'OK Computer' in terms of holding my interest from start to finish. I mean, I'd much rather listen to someone going on about Karl Marx, Winnie the Pooh and #6 than moping about plane crashes and Hitler haircuts.

Like purlieu, I sort of checked out of whatever was happening in the world of 'indie' by the early 21st century, despite only being in my early 20s. Stuff like Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys and the White Stripes was all too boring for me. For that brief moment, Mansun did seem to show you could have an attitude of "well, why not have Tom Baker narrate Brian Jones' final thoughts while a couple of opera singers warble in the background?" and have that on a top ten album.


Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2021, 09:25:28 AM »
the recent unearthing of Dominic Chad pictures was a big surprise to me

Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2021, 09:32:25 AM »
I did just google 'Dominic Chad' and saw there's a fellow of that name working as a sports massage therapist in Basingstoke, of all places, and I honestly couldn't tell by the picture whether it was the same person as yer man from Mansun

Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2021, 10:36:38 AM »
I did just google 'Dominic Chad' and saw there's a fellow of that name working as a sports massage therapist in Basingstoke, of all places, and I honestly couldn't tell by the picture whether it was the same person as yer man from Mansun

it is he

turnstyle

  • His wife doesn't like the Sarcastic Butlers
Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2021, 10:49:55 AM »
I did just google 'Dominic Chad' and saw there's a fellow of that name working as a sports massage therapist in Basingstoke, of all places, and I honestly couldn't tell by the picture whether it was the same person as yer man from Mansun

Bad time to be a massage therapist innit, cos of all the touching and what not. I suspect he's probably CLOSED FOR BUSINESS.

Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2021, 10:50:40 AM »
THE CHAD WHO RUBBED ME

Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2021, 10:58:24 AM »
Being A Girl is so fucking good and makes my legs somehow burn with energy. Only stuff like Minor Threat or Side By Side or something normally does that to me.
Bonus Danny Dyer in the video too.

Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2021, 11:00:24 AM »
I think it was through Mansun working with him that I first heard of Howard Devoto, so cheers for that too.

Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2021, 11:29:27 AM »
I absolutely to this day still love Attack of the Grey Lantern. Six for me was a bit too weird when it came out so a relisten very soon is due.
I phoned the number on attack of the grey lantern sleeve, left a short message with my phone number, and stove only blaady phoned me back. My dad answered, very confused and then I had a very pleasant little chat with him. I told a little fib and told them their set at titp was fantastic (hadn't need to t in the park yet, too young. Was going on viewing the footage on telly)


icehaven

  • WORLD'S BIGGEST RIP OFF: $100 PER PERSON
Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2021, 11:39:05 AM »
I did just google 'Dominic Chad' and saw there's a fellow of that name working as a sports massage therapist in Basingstoke, of all places, and I honestly couldn't tell by the picture whether it was the same person as yer man from Mansun

it is he

I'm always curious about fairly successful musicians/actors etc. who end up in 'normal' jobs. I spose because even after their star starts to fall a lot of them end up doing something in the same industry, being an agent or session musician or running a venue or something because that's what and who they know. If you've spent your youth in a band touring and recording you probably aren't going to have any training or experience in anything else so you'd be starting a profession from scratch relatively late. I guess if you'd made a certain amount of cash and not pissed it away you could call yourself a sculptor or 'still performing as...' as NMTBuzzcocks used to call it without having to worry about whether it actually earned you any money, but most members of long-gone bands aren't going to be in that position (unless they were rich in the first place, which is not uncommon.) 

Anyway I loved and still love Mansun, went to see them quite a few times including at the Q Club in Birmingham in about 1997/8ish which was possibly my favourite gig ever. I've still got an absolutely enormous bus stop promo poster for Six that was acquired for me from a local indie record shop, and I've never had a wall big enough to put it on. To my shame I still haven't caught up with Draper's recent solo stuff but I will.
 
It's a real shame about the Grey Lantern venue in Brum too, which only opened (with an appearance by the man himself) in mid March last year (feels in poor taste to make a Closed For Business joke and someone's already used it above anyway). It was open for about a week before lockdown so I haven't been yet but presuming it survives I'll try and go at some point. I vaguely remember there being some hoohaa on fb about them paying staff when it briefly reopened during the first lockdown easing, but I can't really remember and it's probably academic now anyway given the last 6 months.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2021, 11:50:19 AM by icehaven »

Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2021, 11:45:02 AM »
I guess in the instance of Mr Chad, as he wasn't writing too many songs, he couldn't rely on royalty checks to keep him ticking over but presumably had earned enough to fund training in his current industry. In his case, I would never have even recognised him without the Brian Jones' cut atop his bonce, plus I'd sort of assumed 'Dominic Chad' was a made up name, like he'd just picked the surname from opening an atlas on a random page.

I think we had a thread a time back about former musicians now in more mundane occupations.

daf

  • Insect movement by Roslyn De Winter
Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #23 on: April 01, 2021, 12:07:54 PM »
Being A Girl is so fucking good and makes my legs somehow burn with energy.

One flaw in the remastered Six on the 21st remaster (and 25CD box *) was that they forgot to keep [or decided to scrap] that huge shift in dynamic range going from the quiet verses to the 'boot open the door' LOUD chorus. I loved that, and they went and mucked it up by just making everything the same volume!

- - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - -
* (Luckily the single version on the 25CD box does retain the original mix, so you can compare and contrast the two approaches)

Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #24 on: April 01, 2021, 12:54:01 PM »
Not listened to Six in ages. I reviewed it for the school newspaper, I can’t remember what I gave it but I certainly didn’t HATE it. It just made me go ‘wtaf’ in parts.

ETA: I loved Being a Girl.

Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #25 on: April 01, 2021, 12:56:15 PM »
Love them - or their music anyway. The Estrons thing put me off for several months, but that couldn't last. I'm not given to making big sentimental pronouncements, but the music of Mansun is somewhat important to me. I'm sure some full-time Prog bore could tell us why they're not a patch on this, that or the other, but chuff that. They were the first band that my best friend and I were equally enthused by. We'd swapped CDs before, but our appreciation of them was always always greater on one side than the other. It was Mansun that cemented our friendship.

It buggers belief that they would want to oust Draper as producer. There are so many layers of sound, particularly on Six. I must have had that for years before I noticed things like the chirping synth on the final bars of Cancer, or the high pitch guitar squeals on the chorus of Legacy. Having said that, I actually like Little Kix a great deal. I feel like I shouldn't, having read about the tumult behind the scenes, but I would never have guessed there had been a regime change from the sound of it. Kleptomania is noticably thin sounding, though.

I know it wasn't their best selling song, but I've always thought Wide Open Space was their most famous. It's the one I always use if I'm trying to remind people of the band (usually when they mistakenly think I'm talking about Marilyn Manson). I think it's the sleeve notes of the 2010 Grey Lantern box set in which Draper says he's run out of things to say about the song. I'm not that surprised that man in the street doesn't remember them, but I was mildly shocked that none of the actual contemporary music journalists on The Chart Music Podcast seemed to remember them.

Fun fact: A friend of my sister was one of the money lobbers in the Taxloss video. I think he edited it as well, but that's not as fun as the money part. Lucky for him, as most of the rest of their videos were cack, which is surprising for such an arty band.

Fun mashup: www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoramcVbEWA

Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #26 on: April 01, 2021, 01:00:52 PM »
Fun fact: A friend of my sister was one of the money lobbers in the Taxloss video. I think he edited it as well, but that's not as fun as the money part. Lucky for him, as most of the rest of their videos were cack, which is surprising for such an arty band.

Not watched it in ages, but at the time I enjoyed the silliness of having Thunderbirds-style puppets act out rock and roll cliches for the 'Legacy' video.

buzby

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Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #27 on: April 01, 2021, 01:22:37 PM »
One flaw in the remastered Six on the 21st remaster (and 25CD box *) was that they forgot to keep [or decided to scrap] that huge shift in dynamic range going from the quiet verses to the 'boot open the door' LOUD chorus. I loved that, and they went and mucked it up by just making everything the same volume!
That's just the usual brickwalled compression that is laughably termed a 'remaster' these days. I'll keep my original CD issue thanks.

Quote from: Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth
Fun fact: A friend of my sister was one of the money lobbers in the [i
Taxloss[/i] video. I think he edited it as well, but that's not as fun as the money part. Lucky for him, as most of the rest of their videos were cack, which is surprising for such an arty band.
The Taxloss video came out of the band's reaction to the label choosing that as a single instead of Disgusting. They didn't want to appear in the video and just wanted to throw the budget away.

I wouldn't say the rest of their videos were cack - Closed for Business, Legacy,  Negative and Being A Girl were all pretty decent. The 'vampire' version of Wide Open Space (not the US version, which was just them performing) was alright too. The video for Six was a bit plain, apart from the homage to Bowie's Heroes video (Draper is, unsurprisingly, a massive Bowie fan) for the 'Life Is A Compromise' section.
Quote
Fun mashup: www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoramcVbEWA
I was going to post that in the other thread. Ben (Soundhog) is a massive Mansun fan. Just don't let him catch you using the term 'mashup'  - he positively loathes it.

Not watched it in ages, but at the time I enjoyed the silliness of having Thunderbirds-style puppets act out rock and roll cliches for the 'Legacy' video.
The video (Mike Mills ripping off Adam & Joe's Toy Stories, which he did previously for Les Rythmes Digitales's Sometimes) is very 'meta', and accurately predicts the rise and fall of the band themselves. I think even at that point the single was released (it was the lead single released a month ahead of the album), after the reaction from the label when they were presented with Six the band probably had a bit of a fatalistic view of where they were headed.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2021, 01:37:31 PM by buzby »

Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #28 on: April 01, 2021, 01:30:26 PM »


I've always admired the audacity of chucking 25 grand in five pound notes over a balcony for the Taxlo$$ video.

Directed by Francis Ford Copolla's son!

I liked Mansun, got a chance to see them live at Newcastle University in '96, think it was supporting Shed Seven. Definitely a bit different to the other so called "Britpop" stuff they were lumped in with by the NME. "Take It Easy Chicken" was on some free magazine compilation tape and got a lot of plays on my big yellow Walkman.

Better Midlands

  • I'm not internationally known
Re: Mansun appreciation thread
« Reply #29 on: April 01, 2021, 01:40:13 PM »
Wide Open Space

Always thought that sounded like Tears For Fears, in my world that's a very good thing.

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