Mansun Six Reissue Album Review

Album Review: Mansun – Six 21st Anniversary Reissue

Is it really 21 years since Mansun released the iconic Six? Surprisingly, it is and to commemorate the anniversary, Mansun have remastered the album and collected various demos, outtakes and alternate versions of tracks for the special edition.

Mansun – Six

Mansun were riding high after their debut album, Attack Of The Grey Lantern. I’m sure the record company wanted their follow-up to be filled with more hits to follow Wide Open Space and Tax Loss. Mansun had other ideas. Instead, what they created was so much deeper and took the band in a different direction.

The title track opens with a simple piano and synth section before the chugging guitars kick in, along with the familiar tones of Paul Draper. It’s immediately obvious that this isn’t going to be a bright and cheerful album though as Draper sings “My life, it’s a series of compromises anyway. It’s a sham. And I’m conditioned to accept it all”. Before we hit the two-minute mark we’re greeted with the first big change in the song. It feels almost as though they’ve started a different song. Get used to this because it happens over and over again. Not just in this song but on many of them. It shouldn’t work, but it does. After 8 minutes of going back and forth through different sections, you’ll understand that this isn’t going to be an album full of chart hits.

The band aimed high and they delivered. Song after song, you’re treated to the sound of a band at their creative peak. Negative could have been a huge hit if it wasn’t for the lyrics being so negative (yes, I know), instead we get a much deeper song. It’s all the better for it. Draper’s lyrics on the whole album are a major attraction to many fans. Could you imagine any other band from the late nineties writing lyrics like these?

Mansun Six Review

The album continues to change as it goes along. Inverse Midas is a stunningly beautiful track which strips everything away and leaves Paul Draper and a piano. Immediately, it all changes again as Anti Everything throws in some spiky guitars and strange noises galore. Which moves straight onto Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy, sorry, I mean Fall Out.

Seriously, expect the unexpected with this album! Wait for it, further into the album we also get opera and Tom Baker.

The second half of the album actually starts to get a bit more normal. Well, relatively speaking anyway. Television, Special/Blown It and Legacy are some of the finest songs ever Mansun recorded. Legacy is, in particular, is a wonderful track which never gets old. It builds beautifully and showcases how well Draper’s vocals and Dominic Chad’s guitar parts fitted so well together. It would have been the perfect way to finish an album, which is probably why they tacked on Being A Girl. The New Wave anthem about not wanting to be a boy is as raucous as the album gets and is in stark contrast to Legacy, which is probably why it fits so well.

For many, Six would have been a shock to the system. I know some people hated it when it was released. Mansun were skirting along the Britpop borders at the time of their debut. With Six, they pushed themselves as far away as possible and made an album which was all the better for it. For myself and many others, Mansun created an album that ended up being the soundtrack to our lives. It’s confusing, it’s warm, it’s harsh, it’s beautiful, it’s depressing, it’s uplifting. To put it simply, it’s one of the best albums ever made.

Rating 10/10