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Mansun - Six CD (album) cover

SIX

Mansun

 

Crossover Prog

4.07 | 37 ratings

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Textbook
5 stars One of the great over-looked gems of British prog. After being a little bit proggish on their also excellent debut Attack Of The Grey Lantern, Mansun went the full hog here with the incredibly complex and uncompromising Six.

Do you like records that have been obsessively assembled with all sorts of tiny little details hidden in the sound? Where you can notice new things after listening to it for years? Then you may be interested in Six.

Completed very quickly after the debut (mostly through the fact that mainman Paul Draper's life more or less WAS Mansun and he was effectively living in the studio which is also why it's so detailed) Six loses the humour and pop of their debut which alienated some fans. In fact not only are there no Stripper Vicars here, it's even one of the bleakest, most unapologetically depressed albums I've never heard. If you're in the right mood and feeling a bit sorry for yourself, something like Legacy can be devestating. Across the album Draper lyrically and apathetically pulls apart most of life's great institutions as being a bit crap. Self reinvention through finding a new religion (Shotgun) or transgenderism (Being A Girl) are suggested as ways out but no matter how much you change, you're still going to die and be forgotten (Legacy). If you're listening to this album, you're never going to all that rich and famous (Special). Religion is a blood-sucking vampire (Cancer). Nothing comes out like you want it to (Six). Over all is this nagging shadow that this depression is basically what life as.

And there's also the dark heart of Witness To A Murder II where the lyric seems to suggest that you watch the world kill you and don't do anything about it. Incredibly sinister (and performed by Tom Baker from Doctor Who, and with some real opera singers on the track too!?) Witness To A Murder II seems incredibly pretentious at first pass but gradually comes to actually appear genuinely significant though it's hard to put why into words. There's "something" lurking in Baker's monologue that doesn't, and perhaps shouldn't, quite make itself known.

Interesting story about Six is that when I first heard it I hated it. I found the extreme and lunatic shifts of direction on songs like Six, Shotgun and Cancer annoying and pointless and the whole thing just seemed ugly and morose. I actually returned it. But then I found I couldn't stop thinking about it and ended up buying it again, the only time I've ever done this. It's supposed to be ugly and morose. This is Draper's bold and unflinching confrontation with the emptiness inside him and it's no surprise that after doing something so momentous he found it hard to continue creatively and the band petered out.

Better than OK Computer? Easily. A must for those interested in British prog.

Textbook | 5/5 |

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