They were dark days. They were the worst of times. Paul Draper‘s former band Mansun were no more. They had ceased to be. A cloud of mystery surrounded the split, right in the middle of sessions for the fourth album, but there was very little noise coming from any party.
A few years down the line and the aborted recordings for that album were given a quick polish and out came ‘Kleptomania’. Since then, and up until an appearance on Marc Riley’s BBC 6 Music show with Menace Beach, there had been very little to be heard from the maestro at the beating heart of Mansun, Paul Draper. A volley of calls, emails and messages bombarded the show and in the immediate aftermath Draper reached out to the adoring fans that had been waiting with baited breath for the solo album that had been muted as the dust settled and the debris of the band scattered back at the beginning of the 21st century. A petition here, a convention there, a demo track aired at the gathering and the ball was rolling.
Now, here we are. At the cusp of the a new dawn. Anticipation at fever pitch and that demo from 20 months ago is given life. Released via Kscope and the fantastic Too Pure Singles Club, ‘Feeling My Heart Run Slow’ is a sprawling, metropolis of genres, a dash around a city of synthesizers, squealing guitars, thundering drums, rolling bass and vocals that leap from skyscraper high chorus to deep, subway verse.
It’s a chameleon of a song, described as “a juggernaut of a revenge rock ‘n’ roll song” by Draper himself, and changes colour from a slow, brooding, simmering Depeche Mode-esque verse to a bright, brash and brilliant kaleidoscope of dance beats and wah wah guitar. It’s at times angular, with dissipated drum patterns, rumbling bass and low vocal tones, and at others it bursts free and releases the tension that has been building with Draper’s trademark falsetto that sounds like no other. Twenty years may have passed since the first Mansun EP, but the voice is just as vibrant.
No one is making music like Paul Draper, and no one ever has.