Album Reviews

Mansun – Legacy: The Best Of

(Parlophone) UK release date: 18 September 2006

Mansun - Legacy: The Best Of 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 for Mansun when he wrote the lyrics to Legacy. The song appeared on their sophomore album Six, 18 months after Attack Of The Grey Lantern gate crashed the Britpop cognoscenti, dislodging Blur‘s eponymous album from Number 1.

Mansun were a strange proposition when they came about in the mid-’90s. Their early EPs did little to register with a music press obsessed with Blur vs. Oasis. Out of nowhere Attack Of The Grey Lantern appeared in 1997 and perked their attentions when it landed at Number 1 – a true example of the democracy of the record buying public.

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

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

The truth was that like many groups who had a handful of decent songs, they had their window of opportunity, took it, and moved their stall when no one cared to bother. It’s a genetic of an industry that has been engineered by the prosthetic 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… The rarities album Kleptomania (2004) gets a look-in with the fanciful electro number Getting Your Own Way and the band’s last official single Slipping Away.

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

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

Hindsight is a wonderful thing but foresight is even better. There is no doubt that Mansun were plotting this Legacy all along.

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Mansun – Legacy: The Best Of