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  • Six
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4.7 out of 5 stars
67
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 12 November 2015
Really really nice. I'd play this to people i was trying to impress at bus stops.
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on 15 March 2017
love this cd
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on 15 May 2001
It should be listened to by everyone, everywhere. But then again nobodies perfect. This is probably one of the most exciting rock albums ever released!! There is no way you can get tired of this album - none of it is boring - even after 25 listens you're still noticing new bits or instruments (i.e - if you listen hard enough on Legacy in places you can hear break-beats in places) - really hidden DJ scratches, strange noises and kazoo's, and more!! The opening 3 Tracks are sublime, then for "Fall Out" the album loses a bit of momentum, but we are launched straight into the rush of "Seratonin", and then the sublime "cancer", which contains one of the most beautiful piano and guitar solo's ever! Ok "Witness to a murder" was a bad idea, but in this album, it doesn't seem strange! "Television" has a sublime guitar solo and ending whilst nothing ive heard rivals the blistering "Special/Blown It" - one of the greatest rock songs ever written. We all know the 2 excellent closers "Legacy" and "Being A Girl". If you just want pop music buy Robbie or Britney, if you want an album that can claim to be influenced by Underworld, Aphex Twin, Tears for Fears, The Sex Pistols and The Velevet Undeground at the same time - then buy this!!!
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on 3 October 2004
Mansun were a fantastic band who produced two exceptional albums and numerous EPs of originality, depth and craftsmanship. They were truly a one-off, and this is the high water mark of their career. Their first two albums deserve to be mentioned alongside any other album, and are probably the musical equivalent of Wilde or Swinburne.
As such, Mansun's music is full of colour, reverberating chords and grandeur. The nature of the music itself is unpredicatable. 'Cancer', that begins with aggressive guitar riffing, is broken down to a solitary piano; soon, Dominic Chad brings in a gorgeously evocative solo that is both lyrical and smooth. As a whole, Chad's guitar playing on the album is a highlight. The style is very much like David Gilmour's; preferring slow bends and repeated phrases, as opposed to all out improvisation. The use of guitar effects also stands as a benchmark to all modern bands.
It is also masterful in terms of composition. The Barrett-esque verses of Television build up to surging pre-chorus, but then the song lapses into a kind of lull, before suddenly breaking into the glorious refrain of the chorus. Also, riffs from other songs are dotted around the album, enforcing the idea of an overall coherance. The closing track, 'Being a Girl', shifts from a furious punk anthemn to then falling into a breathtaking outro that turns on a sixpence seemingly at will. Waves of treated guitar sounds wash over, and tempo changes are commonplace: it encapsulates the whole ethos of 'Six': to experiment and dazzle the listener.
There aren't many weaknesses in this album. It was panned by some critics for being pretentious, but then Mansun were a band that dared to be different, and one people will still listen to in years to come. Outstanding.
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on 15 October 2005
I'm not overly familiar with the entire creative output of Mansun - save for a few singles that have stuck in my mind from the final days of Britpop - but this particular album is one that I know quite well, and is a record that probably should be listed amongst the most interesting indie-pop/rock albums of the 1990's. It's certainly a major departure from the sound of certain other indie acts of the era, particularly bands like The Verve, Blur and Oasis, with the sound of Six owning more to Radiohead's classic album OK Computer... and, to a lesser extent, the records they released thereafter. It also nods to the sound of the seventies and eighties too, with Bowie style glam-rock references (in the guitar playing and the way in which the vocals have been treated), Pink Floyd style progression (lots of longer songs that seem to have different parts and sequences) and a post-punk-Magazine-style noise (the sense of attitude and the song-themes that never become entirely clear) all cropping up within the mire of disparate musical ideas.
As a conceptual piece it's a definite epic, both in terms of sound and content, and is a record that seems to have been somewhat lost within the recent shuffle of 90's indie-rock (...albums like Definitely Maybe, Common People and The Great Escape become unarguable classics, whilst albums like New Wave, Promenade, Seamonsters and England Made Me drift off into the background. Why?). Like those albums, Six deserves to be mentioned more often, as it best illustrates what happens when a band gets bored with the generic and decide to take a few risks... resulting in a number of songs that seem to mutate from minute to minute in the possible hope of destroying everything the previous incarnation of the band had stood for.
Many of the songs here start off as straight rock, before surging ahead into unexplored realms of sound and rhythm. As a result of this, most songs are really two or three songs merged together, with the eight minute opening title-track beginning with a subtle burst of piano, before moving off into something heavier... only to pull back again into a stuttering alien-like burst of processed noise. Many songs follow the same blueprint, but never to the point where the whole thing becomes predictable... so, just when you think you've got an aural pattern worked out, suddenly a juddering guitar solo will come in, or a burst of drum and bass, or a soundtrack reference, or a nursery rhyme motif... all set to disarm the listener and prove to us that this is a record that demands our attention. Further more, the album is broken up into two parts, with an interlude (Witness to a Murder - Part Two) that incorporates classical piano scales, operatic vocals and a monologue recited by former Dr. Who/Little Britain narrator, Tom Baker. So, is there a concept then? Well, perhaps... although nothing is clear; the album works in a similar way to the abovementioned Radiohead classic, with the band here returning to various ideas and themes throughout (there seems to be an obsession with the media, pop-culture, religion, biology and social preconceptions...but that's perhaps just my interpretation), without feeling the need to bludgeon the listener with an overall message.
Thus, this is an album that is as much about great song writing as it is about great ideas, arrangements and production. So, for all the bold experiments in texture and rhythm that we find in songs like Six, Anti-Everything, Cancer, Witness to a Murder and Television, we also get some gorgeous stuff like Negative, Special/Blown It, Legacy and the sort of hit single, Being a Girl (...which reminds me of the Police and XTC almost as much as it reminds me of recent bands like Razorlight and Mansun contemporaries The Manics). I suppose there's a hint of Talk Talk about it as well... with the notion of Mansun, then a successful new band with a top-selling debut, venturing off into their own private world and returning with an album that not a lot of people knew how to assess (much like the way Talk Talk's It's My Life ended up mutating into the loose improvised rock of The Colour of Spring, Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock).
Mansun, sadly, never really advanced on the sound of Six, instead choosing to return to the sound of their debut on third and final album (not counting the posthumous release in 2003), Little Kix. So, we have an epic and, to some extent, impentratable rock/pop/god-knows-what? mish-mash of ideas to claw through and explore, with lead-singer and lyricist Paul Draper offering up a labyrinthine collection of songs dealing with all sorts of issues, from the influence of television, to death and murder, and beyond, with one song even name-checking Winnie the Pooh, whilst another track features the great conspiratorial lyric "...did Stanley Kubrick fake-it with the moon?".
The instrumental arrangements throughout are fantastic, epic and highly original, with lead guitarist Dominic Chad showing a great deal of versatility in his playing, which is equally as good as the bass-work of Stove King and the percussion of Andie Rathbone. I suppose some might argue that the album tries to take in too much, with long and complicated song arrangements and purposely vague lyrics that point towards social philosophy (to an extent), though for me, it's justified, as the whole album hangs together exceedingly well, and never becomes as pretentious as that Marilion-inspired art work might suggest (...have fun spotting the references to Doctor Who, the Prisoner, Peter Greenaway, et al).
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on 26 August 2013
This is one of my fav albums from the 90s. A band that was so underrated. This album is up there with many of Pink Floyds for me, and that says exactly what Im saying, its prog rock, just take a look at the classic prog type cover, a term people are scared to use, but what does it matter now, sadly Mansun are no more. But its the type of prog I really like, a full album about lifes ups and downs, and no 20 minute keyboard solos, just plenty of deep and thoughtful melodic rock to get your ears around. Buy it if you dont already own it, please. If your a Floyd or Marillion fan, you wont be disappointed. Just wish I could get it on vinyl cheap enough.
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on 15 October 2002
When I first bought Six I was impressed (musically compelling, lyrically excellent) but for all the effort that the album exudes I was still happier with the more laid-back Mansun of Little Kix, or the black comedy of Grey Lantern. However, Six is one of those albums (as is so often the case with the more progressive end of the Indie (do we still call it that?) market) that you have to lend a bit of time to. The reward for your time is discovering layer upon layer of carefully crafted sound. In contrast to Little Kix the vibe is more 'in-yer-face' bolstered by much more pro-active drumming from Rathbone and occasionally novel basswork for Stove. Guitar work as ever is thoroughly inventive and the production superb with White Album style layers but Fat Boy Slim style digital effects. E.g. the samples on Television. The band keep their wit, and tie it to the music beautifully. Particualrly in terms of texture, songs like Television interweve melodies and vocal harmonies so cunningly.
The opening track, so typical of the others with regards its huge song structure and self-destructive lyrics (sung brilliantly by Draper) is a great triumph as is Negative that follows, probably the most song-like song of all the album's banded tracks (like Mansun's other albums the action is continuous). Shotgun, though technically awesome and a great ensemble piece is lacking much in the way of listenability and quickly descends into a pretentious waste of time but as the album progresses, it strengthens so that the final third of the album is its strongest and singles Legacy and Being A Girl are placed curiously at the end of the opus as opposed to standard policy to place the singles within the first 20 minutes of an album. But this is not a 'normal' album and the tracks are programmed to scan more like an operatic sweeep of music (listen to the opening of Part Two). The result is largely effective and is both Romantic and punky at the same time. If you like Muse but wish Matt Bellamy would stop wailing and sing about something more interesting then this is probably what you've been waiting for.
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on 9 July 2004
Bought this when it first came out, despite luke-warm reviews. I loved it, more so the first 4 tracks. Then I lost the cd a few years ago (a case on it's own isn't much use!) so bought another copy a few weeks ago.
This album is AMAZING. Spend much time listening to the lyrics say and you'll realize the whole album is very depressing - BUT for me this is so much more about the music and the SOUND of the vocals. Every track twists and turns, nothing conforms to standard indie/rock. This really makes things interesting, and makes me want to listen. The production is absolutely fantastic, the whole thing is very well put together. It really is a shame that Mansun never attempted anything like this again, and even sadder they've parted - BUT at least they made this album. DEFINITELY in my all-time top ten, a real classic - buy this and you won't regret it!
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on 22 December 2000
With hindsight, looking back on this album, Mansun themselves tend to err on the side of disowning it. But why? Is it the criticisms levelled at them of prog-rock? Is it the Tom Baker / Dr Who interlude? Is it the Marillion-esque album cover? I dont really understand why. From the outset, with eponymously titled "Six" the the high standard is set. This obviously isnt a paint-by-numbers album. There is possibly more riffs in the opening 2 minutes of the album than you'll get in the whole of a career by the Brit-pop movement of the Oasis' kind or the sadly stagnant UK indie scene in general. Its brave, its innovative, and you can sort of understand why some dont get it! or can you? listen again....why dont these idiots realise the brilliance of this release. Perhaps its too ambitious, but what a charge that is to accuse a band of in this current day and age. You dont need to be a Mansun fan to buy this album - the band will probably never do something with such an impact on the way i view music again. All i advise is buy - listen - and listen again.
Your life will never be the same.
Key Tracks : Six / Fallout / Special/blown it (delete as appropriate) / Being A Girl
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on 18 December 2003
I found it truly amazing how much this album was overlooked! This is most definitely in my top 10 albums of all time, and that includes U2's "The Joshua Tree", the aforementioned "OK Computer" by Radiohead, aswell as other superb albums from Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Oasis and Prodigy.
It's one of only a handful of albums I own where the 'skip' button can regularly be rested, and the whole album flows so well from start to finish, with each track still standing out as an individual, innovative song.
The title track, "Six", is amazingly original. Starting off in a stylish, relaxed slightly poppy style, then building up to a frenzied, guitar driven climax.
"Negative" continues the heavier guitar-led sound, almost heading into punk territory, yet again successfully fusing a pop/rock hybrid which seems to work so well.
After the full-fronted assault chorus of "Shotgun", the storm passes, and we are led into the beautiful piano piece, "Inverse Midas". It's pleasant surprises like this that remind me how gifted and talented Mansun are, and it really sets them aside from the hoardes of indie/grunge bands they tend to be associated with.
Rolling seamlessly now into "Anti Everything" - a delightful and pleasantly strange song, which gives way to the central trilogy of "Fall Out", "Serotonin" and "Cancer". It's these three tracks which take several listens to appreciate how brilliantly they are written and produced.
It's worth making another comparison to Radiohead's "OK Computer", with tracks like "Paranoid Android" and "Karma Police" possibly inspiring Draper & Co. However, Mansun have made their own style of it.
"Fall Out" employs a stop-start formula of echoing chorus flowing into rhythmatic guitar sections, followed by a genius sampling of a familiar classical piece (I can't remember what it is right now).
"Serotonin" and "Cancer" like the song titles indicate, make up the darkest sounding pieces of music I've heard since OK Computer (sorry about the recurring reference - but it is my favourite album of all time!). The short, hard, biting guitars coupled with the floating medolies give a very sub-conscious feel, which is followed by another heavenly piano piece. The mood is then lifted near the end of "Cancer" with uplifting synths supporting a (very rare) lovely soft and sweet chorus from Paul. Another highlight of the album in my opinion.
"Witness To A Murder" provides a perfectly timed interlude - a spoken piece (by Tom Baker I think?), which becomes a bit haunting after a couple of listens...
"Television" starts out as a catchy pop song (which could have been sung by the Bee Gees!), but builds up with yet more brilliant production, including TV samples from "Sky News" of all things! This track took more than 5 listens for me to realise it's full potential, which is possibly why the album didn't receive the great reviews it deserves.
"Special/Blown It" always seems to remind me of their last album, "Attack Of The Grey Lantern", probably because of it's simpler approach relative to the rest of this album. The only difference is that it's too 'dark' to appear on "AotGL".
The last two tracks are among the finest on the album, and when I get to this point of the CD, I'm always amazed there's over 10 minutes of brilliant music left.
"Legacy" was the first and most successful single to be released from the album. It does have a commercial sound, but retains underlying tones of 'despair', which match the lyrics brilliantly (I feel so drained/my legacy/sea's of faces just like mine). The layered vocals work extremely well in the chorus too, without giving it a 'cheesy' "Beach Boys" sound.
Finally, "Being A Girl (Part's 1 & 2)" bring the album to a deservedly fantastic end. Starting off as a very classy and clever track, then opening up the throttle for 'Part 2'. It almost sounds as if it was recorded freestyle, with the never-ending guitar solo's - much like the famous 'Noel Gallagher' efforts, but decidedly more interesting. The guitars finally drop off one by one, and after the feedback settles a slightly disturbing piano/child's voice loop brings it all to a satisfying close.
So why did "Six" not obtain similar reviews to this when it was released?? Because the reviewers weren't doing their job - they skimmed through it before passing their attention to the latest Manic Street Preachers or Spice Girls (remember them?!) efforts.
Buy it. Listen to it. Regardless of whether you liked it or not, listen to it again. Regardless of whether you liked it or not, you will WANT to listen to it again. And again. And again. And again....
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