When they’ve exhausted all the spy thriller ideas, gone through every Ian Fleming novel and plagiarised every two-bit movie from Bourne to Kingsman, they’ll take Moonraker a couple of steps further and put Bond in space. Except he’ll be a cross between suave, debonair James and David Tennant-era Doctor Who. When this happens, the debut record by ex-Mansun chief, Paul Draper – entitled ‘Spooky Action’ – will be the soundtrack. They could even set it in Ursa Major constellation.
Just a couple of weeks ago when the record was announced, ‘Don’t Poke The Bear’ – the opening track on the album – was released upon the universe. It could be a 007 theme, it could take pride of place on the playlists of Whovians. It’s brilliantly weird, exactly what the opening track from the brain who dreamt up ‘Attack of the Grey Lantern’ and ‘Six’ should be.
Before we could blink the space dust from our eyes or wipe the squashed intergalactic bugs from the visor of our helmet, the first official “single” has been premiered on BBC 6 Music.
‘Things People Want’ is every inch the single you’d expect. It’s got the big chorus and melodic earworm for the masses, and yet it’s still wonderfully bonkers. There’s a section that might be the middle eight or the gap for the “solo”, but it’s a collage of random piano flourishes, guitar squeals and synth buzzes.
The lyrics show the influence of Catherine AD, in the mould of the best work from her debut album as The Anchoress, ‘Confessions of a Romance Novelist’, which Paul Draper co-wrote and produced. It’s a damming indictment of society’s obsession with the material world (“a new car, designer bags and the nanny”) and not concentrating on the important things in life (“don’t think about the things that make me sad, the things I’ll never have”).
Musically, it’s unsurprisingly reminiscent of Mansun B-side ‘Decisions, Decisions’ and the subject matter is not a million miles away from it either. A repetitive synth courses through it, the intro is an almost drunk-sounding piano with a meandering guitar line lower in the mix binding it all together.
It’s a more immediate, accessible teaser ahead of the impending 11-course banquet ‘Spooky Action’ than ‘Don’t Poke the Bear’, but the pair illustrate what will clearly be an eclectic and diverse record that bounces between genre with Paul Draper’s time-defying vocals at the fore.
The single is available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music and SoundCloud now. The album is out on 11th August on KScope and can be pre-ordered via Paul Draper’s website.