Apparently, these guys are all the rage across the pond, and the first three songs on this record are staggeringly well executed — almost breathtaking. The opening tune, “Six,” is the perfect introduction to vocalist Paul Draper’s supple styling. By track’s end, he’ll have your attention, I can assure you. A diversionary doodle of an intro rips into the next track, “Negative,” and a chance to show how powerfully this outfit can rock. An over-revving bass and drum engine propels this tune into my year’s top ten. I love it! Another seamless transition and it’s back to a slightly more subdued and poetic mode for the next tune, “Legacy.” Another winner. At this point, I realize that I’m well into an Abbey Road -style montage epic, and I have to admit that they start to lose me a little bit. I admire the style and concept, but as the pop song format disintegrates, the center wanders and some of the power dissipates. For the most part, the songs on Six are written by Draper, and my guess is that he’s using this technique to convey his apparently somewhat unhinged state of mind. The technique works. However, Mansun may be asking for a little too much investment from the listener in shrink-wrap, sound-bite America. Mansun’s got my attention, though, and I’ll be keeping an eye on them.

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