Mansun Discography Part One: One EP - Egg Shaped Fred
Okay! So as the Neil discog is taking so darn long I thought i'd start another one. Mansun are one of my most fondly remembered bands of the late 90s. They were often funny, often intelligent, often fantastically complex musically, often really exciting and most of the time the press didn't give a shit. Maybe that was understandable after hearing the first few singles, which were sort of lightweight in comparison to later stuff, but they really had no excuse once the band had proved themselves. 1998's Six was one of the most excitingly over ambitious albums of the late 90s, and still doesn't really get it's due. Mansun were also a fantastically productive band and that made them a GREAT singles band. Every single release gave us at least 3 or 4 new songs, in fact the band were so determined not to waste releases that they called every one an EP. Now some of this stuff was released on the band's post-split Kleptomania collection, but a lot of it wasn't, so basically I thought i'd post their old EPs in order. I'll try to keep the biographical stuff short (you can get that from Wikipedia!, and that should allow me to get these posts done quicker.
The band started out with the self-released Take It Easy Chicken 7" and then the Skin Up Pin Up / Flourella single on Regal. Now as these songs were re-released later on i'll skip over them for now, and get started on the band's first Parlophone EP, Egg Shaped Fred. Even from the start the band were really over-productive, knocking out four songs for the tape/7" and those four plus a bonus track for the CD. The single came out in March 1996 and scraped into the top 40 to reach number 37 on the uk charts. The title track is probably one of my least favourite Mansun singles... it's still a lot of fun but maybe suffers a bit from post-Stone Roses Brit Pop riffage and so relies a little too much on the vocals to carry the melody. However the chorus is catchy and stupid enough to stick in your head, it's overall nice and fuzzy and well filled out instrumentally, and the middle eight is supergood. Ski Jump Nose was always better live, but here it still rocks puretty hard. Again maybe a little too pedestrian riffage wise, but the melodies are always strong enough to pull it through. And that post chorus 'Yeeeah ahaaa ooooh!' is luverly. That 'nick nack paddywack' coda though....stinks. Lemonade Secret Drinker is nice, if a little too Bsidey, but then this was still early says for the band. Thief is better, quick and snappy and really of just as high a quality as the singles. There's certainly no wimping out production wise, its really nicely layered and you can tell that some patience was really taken over it. Overall? Not their best EP by far but a decent start for a grrrreat band. As a bonus, here's a few youtube links for you:
And then, as promised, here's the EP. For those who want another quick Mansun kick, it's worth noting that Paul Draper himself has put a lot of really rare old clips up on youtube, and there's some fantastique stuff there to watch. Enjoy!
|Mansun - 01 Egg Shaped Fred|
Mansun - 02 Ski Jump Nose
Mansun - 03 Lemonade Secret Drinker
Mansun - 04 Thief
Mansun - 05 Secret Instrumental