It’s a tale told a thousand times. Treachery, deceit, lies. The friends you once knew, the friends you once loved, have knifed you in the back. If anyone was in any doubt why Paul Draper hid away in his studio after the split of Mansun, keeping his head down, abandoning his solo album and working behind the scenes producing for others, safe in his comfort zone, then this is it.
It’s a bitter retort, a soul laid bare of it’s pain at what was once beautiful, but now destroyed.
What makes it all the more poignant and devastating is that it’s the most Mansun-sounding track we’ve heard from Paul Draper as a solo artist, surely utterly intentional and for maximum emotional impact. For him more than any Mansun fan.
What takes the edge off the cutting, barbed lyrics, is the unmistakable vocals. ‘Feeling My Heart Run Slow’ and the other two original tracks from ‘EP One’ were the sound of Paul finding his feet, the first tentative steps into the limelight. Support from Catherine A Davies and Steven Wilson allowed Paul to dip his toe back into pool and this, although co-written with Catherine, is the sound of him stretching those melodic muscles, straining the vocal chords, approaching what made him one of the greatest vocalists of the 90s.
A tiered, multi-storey anthemic eulogy to his past. Laying the ghost to rest.
What makes this a step up from the first release is the building up of tension, as the mild, calm plotting verse steps up to a warning in the bridge and then explodes into a release of his anguish in the chorus part one and reaches heights few else could manage in part two with screams of frenzied despair concluding it all. It defies logic that he doesn’t rate his voice, dismisses it on occasion, that he was only the singer as no one else would do it.
Anyone that doubted that he could return to those heights can doubt no longer. Fans and devotees wait with baited breath for the album, ‘EP Two’ continuing the theme he started with Mansun of introducing a record with two extended plays showcasing the songs that couldn’t make the final cut for whatever reason, but make perfect bedfellows for separate releases.
‘Spooky Action’, the debut album, is due in the Spring, accompanied by his first solo shows.
Paul Draper has commented recently that he has a two-album deal with Kscope and a number of previously touted song titles from the past will possibly feature on the second record, so there’s plenty more to come.
This is only the beginning. A new beginning.