It’s been a long wait but the frontman of former Chester chart-topping band Mansun has produced his first solo album.
Paul Draper releases Spooky Action on Kscope this summer almost 15 years after the celebrated four-piece broke up and all members semmed to disappear from the music scene.
Over the course of three albums (with a fourth issued posthumously), they fostered a fervent cult following and managed to maintain critical and commercial success with a series of intensely radio friendly yet increasingly experimental records.
Released on Kscope on August 11, Paul Draper’s Spooky Action is the result of a decade of thinking, tinkering, writing, recording and focusing.
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 11 tracks veer from warped voodoo psych (Don’t Poke the Bear) to glistening synthetic soul (Things People Want).
Mansun’s success story began with their number one debut album Attack of the Grey Lantern, followed by a hugely acclaimed boundary pushing second Six and a more pop-inflected third Little Kix, along with numerous radio-hugging singles brought together on the 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).
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,” said 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.
“I had a lot to write about. 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.”
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.
Draper is to play a sold out tour of the UK in September with a full live band that includes Catherine AD. These will be his first solo live dates and include a gig at Manchester Gorilla on Friday, September 15.