After a 12 year break from releasing his own material, former Mansun frontman Paul Draper’s 4 track EP, EP One is released today. The hiatus hasn’t seen him leave the music scene at all, but rather he’s been working in the studio as a producer and most notably, on The Anchoress’ Confessions of a Romance Novelist both as producer and contributing his distinctive vocals to You and Only You. Draper confessed to never really having thought about producing himself before, but this EP is proof that the man still has it on both sides of the desk.
Draper is a product of the 80’s/90’s music scene and his influences from the era carry through into his solo material. While this is obvious throughout, the opening track Feeling My Heart Run Slow opens with screeching guitar feedback and descends into drum-driven synth. Betwixt this is some deeper vocal that is reminiscent of early 90’s Depeche Mode. This comparison is more closely reflected later with The Twilight Sad’s remix of the track which closes the EP, but with its dirty synth bass lines and space age keyboards floating in the high notes, it’s a much more industrial sound than the original.
In spite of its serious tone, No Ideas opens with the satirical lyric “I did a google search for what comes up when I type in that I got no ideas” and this theme continues throughout. The track was co-written with fellow producer, Steven Wilson batting parts back and forth each adding to it in bite size pieces. It’s an odd number, but I like the contrast between the musical parts and lyrics.
The Silence is Deafening is a full on, fast paced indie-rock number which shows Draper’s vocals off in their full glory (co Written with Catherine AD AKA The Anchoress). This track was specifically written for EP One and with it’s soaring chorus and instrumental parts, it is by far the most stand-out one on the EP. It is the closest thing you’ll find to Mansun on here with a great number of Draper’s hallmarks, but it’s still a far cry from the bands material. Believe me however, when I say this is no bad thing, it’s a great track.
All in all, there is a broad spectrum of influence composited into these three songs but it is very intrinsically and fundamentally Paul Draper. EP One is a fantastic amuse-bouche and my ears are very much looking forward to dining on future instalments. For now, I’ll be featuring this on my playlist regularly in anticipation of the next one.