Mansun Discography Part Three: Three EP - Stripper Vicar
Okay! EP number three and the Mansun boys are starting to have a few more brushes with fame. The Stripper Vicar-led Three EP was released in September 1996 and reached the bands highest chart position to date, breaching the top 20 by reaching number... 19. Which ain't too shabby considering that at that time people actually bought singles. This was also the band's first release with drummer Andy Rathbone, after the bands previous one had been kicked out for throwing a pineapple at guitarist Chad. I was I was making that up. It was also the band's first single to come on two cd singles, which meant an excellent 5 new songs turned up as bsides, and also their first to give them some proper tv appearances; they played on that weeks TFI Friday and the following week's Top Of The Pops.
The EP starts out with Stripper Vicar of course, not one of the bands finest lyrical moments but definitely one of the catchiest and most memorable of their early run of singles. After that very very 90s dancey opening, it breaks into that beautiful melodic verse, and also gives us some lyrics that hint at some of the more obscure proggish storylines of their forthcoming LP. So basically it's a lyrical re-run of The Smiths' Vicar In A Tutu, but a lot more fun. My favourite part is probably that great post-chorus 'Should we lie whilst he still alive' bit. That is pure pop magic and no mistake. It's far far too silly of course to ever get released nowadays, but thats half the fun of it; it's refreshingly innocent and non 'cool' sounding. It's also still got bad hints of baggy going on, but i'll forgive them, if only for that fuzzy vocalled part near the end that lurches back into the Should we lie part again. Me likes. But only if I could take out that 'plastic trousers' line. Ouch guys, ouch. The Edge is a pretty cool moody track that sounds to me like a precursor to some of the bands later more edgier material; in particular the bside Everyone Must Win that the band would co-write with Magazine's Howard Devoto. It's definitely bside material, but compared to most bands it's refreshingly imaginative and well thought out. Duchess isn't so great. Bad funk/electro/indie, like Jamiraorarororoqui fronting The Stone Frigging Roses. A real tossoff bside that doesn't deserve more words to be written on it. An Open Letter To The Lyrical Trainspotter however is absolutely wonderful, one of the funniest and most telling songs of the bands catalogue and leagues better than its predecessor. The band would later include it as a secret track at the end of the Grey Lantern album, and it's no wonder really, it's far too good for a bside. It's also one of the few songs about writing songs that really work. It also manages to let the band admit that they know that pop lyrics are an inflated art that justify themselves through their own inflation, which isn't something people often do well. 'They all believe me, it's all so easy' is a nice line. Next up is No One Knows Us, which goes in one of my rock ears and out the other for some reason. There's nothing obviously wrong with it, but there's also not much there that stands out. Okayish chorus melody though. It does interestingly show the first use of a melody that would later popup in the Legacy single though. See if you can spot it fact fans! Things Keep Falling Off Buildings is more of the same really, averagely good. So, in conclusion, a nice EP, saved by the title track and the great Lyrical Trainspotter. Enjoy.
|Mansun - 01 Stripper Vicar|
Mansun - 02 The Edge
Mansun - 03 Duchess
Mansun - 04 An Open Letter To The Lyrical Trainspotter
Mansun - 05 No One Knows Us
Mansun - 06 Things Keep Falling Off Buildings