Album Reviews

Mansun – Legacy: The Best Of

(Parlophone) UK release date: 18 September 2006


I wouldn’t care if I was washed up tomorrow…I feel so drained, my legacya sea of faces…Nobody cares when you’re gone…

You wonder if Paul Draper knew all along that it was going this way forMansun when he wrote the lyrics to Legacy. The song appeared on their sophomorealbum Six, 18 months after Attack of The Grey Lantern gate crashed the Britpopcognoscenti, dislodging Blur’s eponymous albumfrom number one.

Mansun were a strange proposition when they came about in the mid-nineties.Their early EPs did little to register with a music press obsessed with Blurvs. Oasis. Out of nowhere Attack of the GreyLantern appeared in 1997 and perked their attentions when it landed at numberone – a true example of the democracy of the record buying public.

Endeared to the UK and Japan, a supersonic three-year period ensued thatwould see Mansun charge the charts before evaporating with little fanfare. Muchof this was put down to Mansun changing their sound and look (baggy / rock n’roll / boiler suits / mascara) more frequently than Jake Shears ontour.

Attack’s… angst and anthems were well worn by Suede. Six was more of the same, but not much interms of progress. By 2000’s Little Kix there they were a new romantic /electro post-Britpop casualty, even if it spawned their best single, theagonisingly melancholic masterpiece I Can Only Disappoint U.

The truth was that like many groups who had a handful of decent songs, theyhad their window of opportunity, took it, and moved their stall when no onecared to bother. Its a genetic of an industry that has been engineered by theprosthetic of money since the fifties.

Mansun were by no means some of the chancers that showed up knocking -remember Gay Dad, Sleeper, Republica?! Mansun weren’t one hit wonders,even if this compilation gives the notion by featuring half of Attack… Therarities album Kleptomania (2004) gets a look-in with the fanciful electronumber Getting Your Own Way and the band’s last official single Slipping Away.

There was something perverse about Mansun showing up late to the Britpopparty and releasing tunes which today are classically associated as beingsignature songs of the decade.

As a best of Legacy is pretty accurate, a touch nostalgic and ultimatelyworthwhile roundup of Mansun. Though legacy is not a word you would associatewith Mansun, they do bear one. From the faces they left an indelible mark on atthe time, to those they inspired (Hope of the States, The Upper Room) and those who carrytheir influence (Delays, The Feeling).

Hindsight is a wonderful thing but foresight is even better. There is nodoubt that Mansun were plotting this Legacy all along.


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