Friday, September 02, 2005

MP3: Mansun - Revisited

Now here's a band who clearly haven't been forgotten yet (although its actually been five years since their last record, though only a year since their parting shot with the Kleptomania compilation), but that I feel soon stand the chance of being remembered as Ned's Atomic Dustbin and S*M*A*S*H are remembered, i.e. not by many, and not in a good way. At all.

I've always felt that Mansun made some bad choices and so never really got to make as much great music as they were capable of. Much of their first record is slightly embarrassing (Stripper Vicar anyone?), and most of their third and final record was absolute ASS, which leaves us with one truly classic record with 1998's Six, and a bunch of REALLY great bsides. I can see Six being rediscovered in 10 years or so in the same way that records from Love, Gang Of Four, Big Star have got popular again and seemingly entered everybody's music collections. If so Six is likely to become as desperately hip as it was desperately unhip at the time of release. But not undeservedly. Not undeservedly hip that is (this has become a rather convoluted paragraph, so just move on...)

So what were Mansun's mistakes (I hear you cry)? Well the rather time-bound sound of their first record (slightly overproduced, very Britpop) and the immature nature of a lot of it (lyrically that is) can just be put down to youthful inexperience. The leap in songwriting and the sheer power of performance between the debut and Six is absolutely immense, and despite the fact that Six can't be called a perfect record, it's still a very special one, is extremely re-listenable, and still sounds unlike just about any other record i've ever heard.

I think the OK Computer influence is pretty clear, especially on some of the guitar work, and yet Mansun seemed to succeed by completely losing all their marbles and going as far as they could with the prog/concept album stuff that Radiohead hinted at but usually kept to a minimum. Whereas Radiohead didn't mention the pretty obvious Dark Side-era Floyd influence on Computer, Mansun took the same ingredients and went just ever so slightly over the top.


  • 9 minute songs about Marx? Check.
  • Demented prog-style painted LP cover with Doctor Who and The Prisoner references a-go-go? Check.
  • Tom Baker guest monologue? Check.
  • Song based around Swan Lake? Check.
  • The lyrics 'A frog it cannot comprehend the sea, nor me happiness' and 'The nature of uncarved blocks is how to describe what's hard to describe' (it seems to me that the nature of describing the uncarved boxes is whats hard)? Check.
  • A song that is clearly about Alan Partridge (Special/Blown It)? Check.

    Get the idea yet?

    This is a truly fucked up and yet completely fascinating record that I can't stop going back to, and that anyone out there who hasn't heard should really give a listen. Although don't you dare listen to the American version, which completely screws with the tracklisting and leaves stuff out. Anyway if you like the MP3s and want to know what else to download *cough* buy, Mansun recorded these lovely releases over the years. Albums in blue, my favourites are highlighted.

    1996 - Egg Shaped Fred
    1996 - Take It Easy Chicken
    1996 - Stripper Vicar
    1996 - Wide Open Space
    1997 - Attack Of The Grey Lantern
    1997 - She Makes My Nose Bleed
    1997 - Taxloss
    1997 - Closed For Business
    1998 - Legacy
    1998 - Being A Girl
    1998 - Six
    1998 - Negative
    1999 - Six EP
    2000 - I Can Only Disappoint U
    2000 - Little Kix
    2000 - Electric Man
    2001 - Fool
    2003 - Kleptomania (4th album demos, bsides and more)

    The cover of Six. Spot the Tardis.

    MP3 wise, i've got two rather lovely tracks from Six, namely Anti Everything and Inverse Midas. You should listen to Inverse Midas first by the way cos they play into each other (just like all proper prog should). Check out that piano, and then check out that guitar. Lovely.

    The next two mp3s are somewhat related to each other. Mansun stated one of their biggest influence as being the legendary Magazine, and so first we have a rather lovely cover of Shot By Both Sides (record for a Peel session back in 'tut' day), and second we have the bside Railings, which is actually co-written by Howard Devoto. Railings was the bside to the Being A Girl cd single, which I believe was the first Mansun release I ever bought back in the hazy days of 1998 after seeing them play the first half of the song (as the album version is around 9 minutes) on Top of the Pops. And there probably hasn't been much weirder on that show since then. By the way, the band also collaborated with Devoto on the track Everyone Must Win, which is totally fantastic and not available here. Go find it. It's on something called a CD. In a shop.

    For more info, check out the lovely official site. Rockin stuff. Oh and enjoy.

    Download: Inverse Midas - MP3 2.39mb
    Download: Anti Everything - MP3 3.32mb
    Download: Shot By Both Sides (Peel Session) - MP3 3.35mb
    Download: Railings - MP3 5.36mb


    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Great Blog… I will be back again..

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    10:37 pm, September 02, 2005  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    thanks for these!

    9:13 pm, September 03, 2005  
    Blogger placidian said...

    Really like the Mansun and your information,
    Thank you!

    8:11 pm, September 04, 2005  
    Blogger John Eje Thelin said...

    I had "...Grey Lantern" when it came out and thoguht it was a solid three-star effort (that's out of five, of course). But being a bit of a Prog frog, plus a Prisoner fan, I definitely have to check out "Six" now.

    Top blog - you may be blogrolled yet.

    6:29 am, September 28, 2005  
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