Steve Mason – Boys Outside

Great stuff, could easily be one of the records of this year.

http://www.dominorecordco.com http://stevemasontheartist.com http://www.munichrecords.com

A beautiful LP and most definitely one that needs a few spins to unearth the subtleties and messages contained therein. It’s a low key record; Mason never forces his trip on you, his songs are almost mantras with quietly repeated choruses and gentle beats: just like his work in the Beta Band, Mason is content to allow the listener some space to make their own mind up.  Am I Just A Man or Lost and Found are cases in point; the repetitive choruses work brilliantly because they are repetitive, and don’t really need to embellish the point.

This is a spacey record too, I don’t know whether these songs came fully formed (and therefore without the need for too much sonic embellishment) but there’s a feeling that the demos must have been good enough to stand on their own feet without much extra support.  Now and again there are surges, such as the strings on The Letter or the piano stabs on Yesterday.

The record’s patience is best exemplified by the strength of the final three tracks; effectively the set has been building steadily towards them. All Come Down is a brilliant combination of echoing plainsong vocals and ethereal pedal effects. The song doesn’t feel as if it needs to go anywhere, rather its gloriously cast adrift on a melodic stream of its own making. The soft and melodic Boys Outside is possibly the most affecting song on the LP, whether Mason is kicking off at machismo in general, or having a pop at a particular lad is immaterial, the message is still the same and still powerful. The melancholy Hounds on My Heel is possibly the best track on the LP; there’s more of a sense of drama than elsewhere, and the piano-led, slow-burn ending out is quietly uplifting.

Great stuff, could easily be one of the records of this year.