Mansun's Little Kix is an album of the joke being on them. Attack of the Grey Lantern brazenly screamed its melodies amidst the pomp and circumstance, Six showed that Marillion-like "concept" albums even had their place in the post-Brit-pop landscape, and on both attempts, the more Mansun seemed out of touch with the masses, the better off they were. Here, the band simply seems out of touch with themselves. As leadoff single "I Can Only Disappoint U" croons in with over-accented curls and turns, one notices that the band's characteristic over-production is turned down to outline the band's actual songwriting chops. Which is laudable. Yet, in "Soundtrack 4 2 Lovers" (spelled the New Edition way) or "Electric Man" (the most significant nod to Suede's "The Chemistry Between Us" in ages), a new, lovelorn Mansun is shown stripped of their highly divisive costuming of old -- and their bare bodies are ugly. It's this album's simpler approach that shows them naked and floppy without their previous new romantic/prog-rock garments to hide their failings. With oafish lyrics carrying these semi-tunes along like "Video games, we have lost our souls/Bulldozer head 'cos we're stoned," there's a feeling that Mansun is grasping toward just about anything new for a sense of perspective. Admittedly, the band's commendable, urgent rises of orchestration still remain, which is a strong selling point. It's the feeling of a mistaken step that feels the most damaging. With future work with Paul Oakenfold, one hopes that Little Kix will merely be seen as a pause between superior albums. Indeed, as in the George Michael clap-along "Until the Next Life," Draper sings: "We were always acting out some drama." If he is to be believed, it's a fine time for them to get out of intermission and to start making plans for some new kind of pageant play.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Dean Carlson