venerdì 12 novembre 2010
Mansun "Little Kix"
Tirai un sospiro di sollievo ascoltando le prime note di questo disco. Mi ero detto "ecco, i ragazzi sono tornati a qualcosa di più normale, diciamo così". In teoria un tentativo di ritorno a qualcosa di più rassicurante, rispetto al secondo disco, c'è sicuramente stato.
In pratica è un disco privo di mordente che non lascia il segno.
Si adagiano su una scrittura piuttosto di maniera i Mansun, che raramente si risolleva e tutto fila via fin troppo piatto: per loro, sia chiaro. Lo avesse fatto un qualsiasi altro gruppo ci sarebbe stato anche da apprezzare, ma con i Mansun, beh, la delusione c'è.
Non mancano arrangiamenti d'archi, un singolo apripista decisamente buono, ma forse si calca un pò troppo la mano in certe ballate e si arriva alla fine con l'idea che qualcosa non quadra.
Canto del cigno per i Mansun. Gruppo fondamentale comunque. (2000 EMI)
After all, Mansun went from brooding glam-ish guitar rock on their 1997 debut, Attack of the Grey Lantern, to all-out prog song structures and abstrusities on the astonishing follow-up, Six.
They haven't exactly been pointing the way to Little Kix. This isn't a 180. This isn't even a 90.
This is almost shifting onto another plane of music. But that's not to say the shift is dramatic enough for comparisons to become meaningless. The band has expressed a taste for the Bee Gees, ABBA, and mid-'80s Prince, and this record is probably the result of such affinities.
All the same, not much of Little Kix could be classified as filler, even if two tracks-- "Fool" and "Goodbye"-- exhibit a slight dip in quality from the surrounding material.
The band seems to be painting with muted colors, though, especially in contrast to the manic off-kilterness of Six.
Perhaps this has something to do with the seeming disinterest of the band members backing frontman Paul Draper. Little Kix could, at times, be mistaken for a Draper solo album for all the effort the other guys appear to be investing.
Guitarist Dominic Chad contributes some nice lead touches occasionally, but bassist Stove King and drummer Andie Rathbone seem content with just laying down a nice pocket.
The album's largest detractor lies with its lyrics.
The complete lack of irony prevents it from reaching its potential as a genuinely satisfying production. Sure, honesty and directness are nice and all, but with no bite, lines like, "We are the boys, think about nothing and/ We are the boys, boys have got feelings, too," fall flatter than the late Bill Hicks at this year's Republican National Convention.
Everything is so amazingly darling and clichéd. Even the chorus of "Soundtrack 4 2 Lovers," a fine ballad by any measure, could've been culled from the new age compilation, Pure Moods.
If you're a real wonk for deep, original sentiments, Little Kix will probably wear like steel underwear. But as a collection of love-themed songs, the record has a lot to offer for listening in the car, boudoir, or singing in the shower. (Craig Griffith - http://pitchfork.com/)
When it comes to opinions about Mansun it seems they attract extreme reactions. On the one hand they have received some brutal - and frankly - rather insulting criticism from some sections of the music press.
On the plus side they have a strong cult following, not harmed by the fact that they reply personally to the fan mail they receive. Their first two albums also aimed for extremes, starting off with 1996's 'Attack Of The Grey Lantern', a widescreen pop-rock album that was one of the best of the year and then they decided to bring out 1998's 'Six', a prog-rock album which even early Genesis fans might have called self indulgent.
Thankfully 'Little Kix' is a return to former glories that doesn't contain anything as fantastic as 'Legacy' or 'Stripper Vicar' but certainly has its fair share of great moments. 'Fool', the single, aims straight fo the jugular by beginning with the chorus straight away.
There's delcious harmonising on 'Forgive Me' and the oft-repeated but never tiresome guitar melody that elevates 'Electric' is another definite highlight. No matter what people may say about Mansun's more grandiose moments, they have an arresting vocalist in the shape of Paul Draper whose vocal ululations are stronger than ever; just witness his range on 'Until The Next Life' for the evidence.
Mansun sometimes fly a little too high with ideas above their station but more often than not they deserve to get away with it thanks to superb musicianship and sheer spirit. (http://www.leonardslair.co.uk)
- Butterfly (A New Beginning)
- I Can Only Disappoint U
- Comes As No Surprise
- Electric Man
- Love Is
- Soundtrack 4 2 Lovers
- Forgive Me
- Until The Next Life
- We Are The Boys