XL/Memphis Industries - 2002 - 56 minutes

Combining slow burners with immediate tracks, Blue States' 'Nothing Changes Under the Sun' was an impossibly great debut which appealed to both collector and compilation buyer alike. Two years on, it's a case of altered states as mainman Andy Dragazis shifts tempo and proves he's not about to make the same record twice.

Gone is the largely instrumental nature of 'Nothing Changes…' to be replaced by singer Ty Bulmer whose vocals give the majority of the album a more upbeat feel. Granted opener 'Metro Sound' seems like the lost song from the first album, but 'Colouration', 'What We've Won' and 'Season Song', show the new dynamics kicking in. The instrumentation is more intricate, the tracks take longer to click and you'll spend most of your time wondering if Dragazis had a particular film in his head making each of them.

It's hard to say whether 'Man Mountain' is a better album than its predecessor because you've played 'Nothing Changes…' so much that you can't see anything taking its place and haven't given this one enough of a chance to try. What is certain however, is that 'Man Mountain' falls asleep in the second half and no way tallies with what Dragazis & Co achieve in the first. You won't be able to make up your mind whether you love it or can just live with it and maybe you're no meant to - Dragzis has created an album that makes you work and the answer may lie a long way down the grooves.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Metro Sound - What We've Won - Colouration - Only Today - Studio 20 - Bare bones - Season Song - Man Mountain - The Winfield Audition - Doublespeak - Halfway Highway - Adrift