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Music  »  Albums  »  Attack of the Grey Lantern by Mansun
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  1. Mansun's Only Love Song
  2. The Chad Who Loved Me
  3. Taxlo$$
  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
    Hidden Track: An Open Letter To The Lyrical Trainspotter

Working in a record shop at the time of its release, I got to hear Attack of the Grey Lantern quite a lot. It never really appealed to me because it was ... well ... a bit strange. Sure, I liked the singles, but I didn't really rate the other tracks. Then one day in early 1999, I had a bit of money to spare and picked up the album for about six quid. But even though it was now part of my collection I still didn't really listen to it properly, just focusing on "Wide Open Space" and "She Makes My Nose Bleed".

Nowadays, I regularly listen to the album, over and over, because at some point in the summer of 1999 I finally realised how great this album was. Take each song on its own and you've got nothing really special, but listen (and I do mean listen) to the whole thing in sequence and the experience is quite simply fantastic. The blend of strings, electric guitar, traditional and electronic percussion, strange SFX and purely extraordinary lyrics gives the album real character and a truly unique identity, as does the ongoing theme based around the exploits of a transvestite vicar and his daughter Mavis. The seamless joining of each track is the final essential ingredient that elevates this album way above a mere collection of songs. Paul Draper (lead singer and song writer) takes the listener on a majestic journey through his fantasy world much like a visit to a musical or opera might and every part of the emotional spectrum is visited. But the brilliance doesn't stop here.

Not only is this an album for listening to, it's an album for singing to. Once the effects of hearing the album several times have started to bury themselves in your brain, you'll find yourself uncontrollably accompanying Draper: "We think you are stupid, we give you money 'cos our assets are fluid, yeah!", "Mavis's opinion is all we really seek", "You've been disgraceful, it's so regretful, you're disgusting", "Bring her on down, bring her on down from heaven", "Where do we go, who do we trust, who do we see? Who wants to know, who do we tell, what will we see?", "We're taking Egg-Shaped Fred for tea ...". Does any of this make sense? Not really, but that's not the point. As Draper explains in the hidden track "An Open Letter To The Lyrical Trainspotter", the lyrics "aren't supposed to mean that much - they're just a vehicle for a lovely voice." Absolutely.

Only one word can sum-up this album: GENIUS. Definitely greater than the sum of its parts, "Grey Lantern" is a landmark album, marking a magnificent debut for Mansun, and a truly wonderful event in the history of modern music.

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