22 January 2013

Mansun - 6

How to go from media darlings to lepers 101. That should have been the title of this album.  Before it was released in 1998, Mansun were possibly one of the biggest underground bands going. Every magazine wanted them in their pages, their ep's sold out instantly in shops, sold out gigs up and down the country, songs were starting to make the upper reaches of the charts and the previous album entered at number 1 in the UK charts. Then this was released and they were shown the hipster exit quicker than Felix Baumgartner fell to Earth.  So what changed for the band, did they do anything really different? Well, the album can only really be described by this man as indie prog. It is quite a strange little beast, it still has the indie rock vibe with the vocals and some of the rhythms, but everything else of this could have been swiped from any 70's prog album you care to think of. It is also an album, not just a bunch of singles or a lot of filler.  The band has since said that they got the listing wrong and should have release the b-sides they recorded for singles as the album as those songs have more choruses. Bollocks I say, what happened is they thought they could do anything and made the album they wanted to release and the public and critics didn't like it so they back peddled.  Usually I mention a few stand out tracks, but the whole thing is stand out.  The sum of the parts is what makes it brilliant and so wrong.

The whole record is actually a fine example of how to fuck yourself over in the best possible style. It is as brilliant as it is off the wall, as up it's own arse as it is unassuming, as ying as yang. It is a contradictions of a record that stranded them in the also-ran's and is viewed as a failure. But for me - hearing it for the first time all these years later - it is a beautiful glorious mistake that just defies all logic in fashion indie 101 and proves that when a band is brave, special things happen.  It ruined their long term career; however it is now (for me at least) a monument to madness and bravery. Every band should do something like this - especially getting Tom Baker to do a monologue.

8.5 out of ten- Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart

You can purchase it here

You can listen to it on Spotify here

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