Monday, 27 June 2016

The makings of a cult classic : Mansun's "Six"

It was an album that stood apart from its counterparts at the time, an album that pushed boundaries and experimented with song formats going down in history as one of the most remarkable albums of it's time, not bad for a bunch of lads from Chester.. Mansun's "Six" has become a thing of legend, a cult album that has one might say aged remarkably well like a fine wine, laced with lashings of lsd...

"Six" is like a window into the band's souls at the time of it's creation, an album that's surrounded by myths about it's creation, is it the sound of a band having a nervous breakdown, tense about creating the big follow up album, or is it an album with no choruses until the penultimate track? I'm damned if I know but it's certainly a piece of musical perfection. An album that name checks as many references as it makes and one which helped to change the musical landscape, it's an album that to be fully appreciated you have to listen to in full otherwise you'll miss the plot completely.

As a malleable 15 year old that album was a welcome change at a time when britpop's corpse had long been dragged out and left to wilt away in a flurry of glitter, the opening bars of the title track "Six" were the start of a musical experience that you simply couldn't describe in logical words but it's one that I've been constantly re-visiting ever since. Tracks skip, segments are disjointed and played with in a way that's part prog, part musicial experiment. "Cancer" for instance stands out as one of the albums most remarkable tracks, pieced together from several separate tracks to form one staggering juggernaut from guitar solos to tranquil piano notes, but it works remarkably well.

What "Six" has done for fans is as remarkable as what Manic street preachers have done over their career, introducing fans to a world of culture, you'll find an overwhelming sea of pop culture references littered throughout the album from A.A Milne to the Rolling Stone's Brian Jones and The prisoner, a lot of the references don't come across so easily upon first listen but after the 1000th or so go at it you'll even find that you pick up on something that completely went over your head all those times before.. It's helped to introduce fans to a vast world of culture in a way that others have only touched upon. Besides where else would you find Tom Baker reading out segments from Brian Jones autobiography over an operatic back track..

It's certainly stood the test of time, but even more remarkably it hasn't aged, it's one of those albums that you listen to today as if it was only just released, the craftsmanship (and some might say strain) that went into piecing it together has helped to create an ageless piece of work, you really can't describe it in logical words but it's one of those albums that you can't imagine being without and you certainly can't find an equivalent to it out in the charts today.

Whilst Mansun as a band no longer exist you can still wallow in musicial splendor and nostalgia, as well as keeping up with Paul Draper's current career producing for other bands at facebook.com/Mansun & twitter.com/mansunband




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