❉ Former Mansun frontman Paul Draper releases his long awaited debut solo album this summer.
“Someone recently told me ‘I really loved Mansun because you were like a prog-musical version of The League Of Gentlemen’. Make of that what you will.”
Paul Draper was the frontman of Mansun – one of the most iconic bands of the late ’90s. Over the course of three albums (a fourth issued posthumously), they achieved something unique – after fostering a fervent cult following, they managed to maintain critical and commercial success with a series of intensely radio friendly yet increasingly experimental records. Off the back of their biggest radio record, Mansun imploded in 2003 and Paul all but disappeared from view.
At the peak of their powers, Mansun were one of the UK’s most renowned rock exports – inspiring undying devotion in their fans with a sound so bold it would influence a generation of misfits to pick up guitars and push the envelope. A number one debut album (Attack of the Grey Lantern), a hugely acclaimed boundary pushing follow-up (Six) and numerous radio-hugging singles (brought together on the peerless Legacy collection). Then in 2003, while recording their fourth album Kleptomania, the band split amid great tension and musical differences. Years of legal battles and strife would follow, but having been in bands since he was 10 years old, Draper kept on writing.
“We were a Britpop version of the Sex Pistols,” says Draper. “Great while it lasted but then imploded magnificently.”
However Draper, remained active – writing and producing with the likes of Skunk Anansie’s Skin, Menace Beach, The Joy Formidable, as well as his long-term and acclaimed collaborator Catherine AD (aka The Anchoress). However, when he lifted his head above the parapet, the world wanted more – leading fans to start a petition for Draper to unearth his own unreleased tracks and solo material.
“Someone recently told me ‘I really loved Mansun because you were like a prog-musical version of The League Of Gentlemen’,” laughs Draper. “Make of that what you will. I was just a working class product of the art school system from a small Welsh town. People just think we had good songs. We did so many EPs, played 200 gigs a year, we shook every hand. We never took any fan for granted. Those fans never went away.”
Riding on the wave of goodwill, last year saw Draper release two well-received EPs through Kscope whilst gaining accolades for his work on the award winning Anchoress album, Confessions of a Romance Novelist. Now with a huge sold out tour on the horizon, Draper is proud to announce his debut solo album Spooky Action – his most accomplished and autobiographical work to date. “I had a lot to write about,” he admits. “I wrote down all of my thoughts about what happened to me in Mansun, and what happened to me afterwards. It was just another form of therapy. “It’s been a cathartic process. I don’t work in a professional manner, I do it to heal something – whatever that is. I got a lot of anger out and I’m on the other side of it now. It’s taken a lot to get there.”
Released on Kscope on August 11th, Spooky Action is the result of a decade of thinking, tinkering, writing, recording and focusing.
Lyrically, it’s biting and brutally honest – an autobiography set to captivating, addictive melody across eleven songs that peak then peak again, then peak again. Taking its cue from 2016’s two EP releases and recorded in collaboration with Catherine AD (the Anchoress) and long time Mansun collaborator PDub, The record’s eleven tracks veer from warped voodoo psych (Don’t Poke the Bear) to glistening synthetic soul (Things People Want); from warped, razor wire rock’n’roll (Grey House) to glorious widescreen analogue pop music (Jealousy Is A Powerful Emotion). Collectively, they represent Paul’s strongest, most consistent set of songs to date – half a lifetime’s work condensed into just over an hour of perfectly formed music.
‘Spooky Action’ tracklisting:
- Don’t Poke The Bear
- Grey House
- Things People Want
- Who’s Wearing The Trousers
- Jealousy Is A Powerful Emotion
- Friends Make The Worst Enemies
- Feeling My Heart Run Slow
- You Don’t Really Know Someone ‘Til You Fall Out With Them
- Can’t Get Fairer Than That
- Feel Like I Wanna Stay
- The Inner Wheel
Paul Draper plays a sold out tour of the UK in September with a full live band that includes regular studio collaborator Catherine AD (the Anchoress). These are his first solo live dates. Paul will play at:
Thu 14th Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
Fri 15th Manchester, Gorilla
Sat 16th Glasgow, King Tuts
Thu 21st London, Scala
Fri 22nd Bristol, Thekla
Sat 23rd Birmingham, Institute 2
❉ Spooky Action is released on Kscope on 11 August 2017. Formats: 3CD deluxe hardback book set / Gatefold 2 LP / CD /digital.
❉ News source: Turner Hall. Paul Draper photo credit: Tom Sheehan
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