1000 Albums Project

GUEST REVIEW 14

Attack of the Grey Lantern, by Mansun
Reviewed by Dreena Jane

Dear Craig

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?)

Dreena x

PS The lyrics were AWFUL
PPS Is it really true that Stuart T has a pet octopus, now?
PPPS 4/10

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