Attack of the Grey Lantern, by Mansun
Reviewed by Dreena Jane
Happy birthday! Thank you for lending me Attack of the Grey Lantern. As you know, I am more likely to listen to folksy female singer-song writers and trad jazz.
Nonetheless, I appreciated your kind thought.
How are you finding it working from home? I’m only in the house one day a week, as we have been faring a bit better down here in Jersey, so I listened to this last weekend while on a cooking spree.
I decided not to do any research before I hit play. I wanted to take this at face value. Anyway, ‘The Chad Who Loved Me’ kicked off the album with an exquisite string arrangement; for some reason it set me up for a bit of trip hop, and briefly I had high hopes… It was a very long intro (some might say too long), and then vocals mixed and mashed and bled into the instruments in a sort of layered and incoherent way, a la Stone Roses. Or The Charlatans.
As you know, I like lyrics. So that was a minor problem.
And what is a ‘Chad’, anyway? I’m sure I’ll find out from Wikipedia, later.
‘Mansun’s Only Love Song’ came along and honestly – sorry – but it sort of sounds like it was recorded in the bath. I liked the jangly guitar, but the Middle 8 went quite 1980s on me. Reminiscent of ABC. (Sorry.)
In fact, I’m no musical expert but my mind was jumping around from genre to genre while I listened to the album, with influences (and sometimes influencing) speckled all over the score. In some places it was a bit Suede. In others, prog rock meets Brit Pop. Is it just me? Quite possibly. Then there was The Beatles. Obviously.
They are a fan of a quirky opening, aren’t they, this Mansun? ‘You, Who Do You Hate?’ starts with the tune of the Brownie song and then introduces a Radiohead guitar riff, followed by some heavy Jeff Buckley, but delivered with slightly less conviction. It’s all very odd. Three songs in one.
I know you have always been a fan of a bargain.
‘Wide Open Space’ was a welcome relief as it was the only one that I knew properly, and thankfully I didn’t find it at all confusing. However, I think ‘Egg Shaped Fred’ was my favourite – it reminded me of The Manic Street Preachers. Not sure who came first.
Had I heard them in ‘97 I probably would have loved them, so hopefully you aren’t too offended.
Well, look at the time. I must shoot. Love to Sarah. (How are the cats?)
PS The lyrics were AWFUL
PPS Is it really true that Stuart T has a pet octopus, now?