Wednesday, February 27, 2013


A former hot property, Mason took five years out of the spotlight, hiding out in his native New England.  There was a lot of acclaim for his two early 20's singer-songwriter albums, and in a quiet way, this shows why.  Mellow-voiced and thoughtful, Mason could go on the folk circuit if he wanted, but has a bit more of a modern idea for his sound.  Here he teams up with producer Dan Carey (Hot Chip, MIA), who laid down drum machine beats throughout, and some subtle sounds, plus lots of work on the vocals, echo and double-tracking for the most part.

I guess it answers the previously-unasked question, 'what would it sound like if Daniel Lanois produced Townes Van Zandt?'  It's not as absurd as it sounds.  Mason's songs, at their acoustic core, could fit well in Texas, and his no-nonsense, rich lyrics are direct and emotional.  There's a sadness for sure, helped along by his weary voice.  He sounds twice his age, and a bit worse for wear.  Add in the beats and effects, and it's all a little more dark, claustrophobic at times, lost in others.

It doesn't all work, and at times the electro-beats wear on your patience, and a little variety might have brought more light to the affair.  But when it works, which is most of the time, there are some memorable cuts.  Shadows In The Dark is a lost Dire Straits track, with Peter Gabriel's ambience.  And Restless Fugitive has a funky bass line, great echo-drenched guitar, and a hypnotic beat.  Townes Van Lanois would be proud.

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