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This special bonus edition of `Boys Outside' includes a bonus disc of the album `Ghosts Outside' by Steve Mason & Denis Bovell, a completely new and reworked dub version of `Boys Outside'.
`Ghosts Outside' is also available separately on limited edition CD and LP.
Bob Dylan once said he didn't understand how anyone could enjoy his 1975 album, Blood on the Tracks. How, he reasoned, could anyone listen to the pain of his marriage being torn apart and be entertained? Catharsis, of course, is often the very essence of great art, but with a pinch of salt you can see his point. How, then, are we supposed to listen to former Beta Band singer Steve Mason's solo album, where every note drips with his own depression, suicidal yearning and loss?
After the 80s electro dabblings of Black Affair and King Biscuit Time's dub-wise folk, this is Mason's first album under his own name, and it's likely no coincidence that he's never sounded as close to his old band. Produced with Sugarbabes collaborator Richard X, Boys Outside turns The Beta Band's spectral, pastoral jams into electronic soul, sharing both the group's relish for surprising musical detail and Mason's unique ability to make despairing love an attractive lifestyle choice.
Like a hangdog cartoon character, Mason has always walked around with a black cloud above his head, except here there is little comic value to be had. Written in the wake of a 2006 breakdown that saw him post the message "I've had enough. Over and out" on MySpace then disappear for two weeks of self-harm and weighing up his options for ending it all (he claims he drove around Fife looking for trees to crash into at speed), Boys Outside isn't exactly part of his therapy, but it is certainly a product of it. Understand My Heart, Am I Just a Man, I Let Her In and others deal with the end of a long-term relationship and the darkness that regularly descends on Mason (in the case of single Lost & Found it refers directly to suicide), and if free download All Come Down gives a sense that he is currently at least happy with being unhappy, Hound On My Heel's minimal electro pulse closes the album acknowledging everything could go tits up at any moment.
Boys Outside sometimes soars with joyous detail–the choral wash in the background of Understand My Heart, for instance, the like of which hasn't been spotted since 10cc's I'm Not In Love–and sometimes slightly misfires–the therapy babble of Stress Position. But this is the most balanced album of Mason's career, or certainly the least precipitous. There is still a yawning void beneath him, but for once it doesn't sound as if he's about to fall into it, and you can't help but share his relief. --Andy Fyfe
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Top Customer Reviews
Mason has gone through hard times and in 2006 he effectively disappeared leaving a message on a website stating simply "Peace to you all....It's been amazing but I've had enough. Over and out". He had once described the Beta's eponymous debut as a "crock of" of a certain substance to his label EMI's massive annoyance , had suffered from rolling dark depression and had relationship problems both in and out of the band. A recent interview with Dave Simpson in the Guardian sets all this out in detail but most importantly shows that Mason is turning around his life.
Thus "Boys Outside" sees him return in a much happier state of mind with a lovely album of hymnal electronic soul and that wonderful warm voice which now bears some comparisons to the rich tones of Elbow's Guy Garvey, combined with a quiet despairing quality witch always underpinned the best Beta Band sounds.Read more ›
Steve re-appeared last year as King Biscuit Time, with a good, solid album with obvious leanings to the Beta Band, but this is a very big step forward in his career. It's left-field pop, with a nod to his former bands, but carves out a path all of his own with catchy pop tracks that hold this work together really well.
It's already been written that this is more cohesive than the Beta Band and that's true enough. Thankfully we also have the wonderful The Aliens to carry on that spirit. But for now, luxuriate in the warmth and wisdom if the marvellous Steve Mason who has in this record, made the best work of his career.
Do not let this pass you buy, it's just too good.
Steve Mason might be happiest being in the distance but Boys Outside is an incredible companion. This is an amazing, highly personal
record that emits real emotion. Not the nebulous grasping at platitudes of overblown Coldpatrol gestures but real raw-knuckle hurt, grief
and redemption. Boys Outside is the kind of record Nick Drake would make if he'd lived through adulthood. It doesn't sound like Nick Drake it sounds like the best pieces of 3Eps filtered through wisdom, melody and deep musical space. 'Am I Just A Man In Love" "I Let Her In"
"All Come Down". All masterpieces of introspection filtered through Richard X's Screamadelica meets Dennis Wilson production.
For the last ten years lonely boys in jumpers have been trying to make out that singer-songwriting is detuning a guitar and showing your feminine side to field full of people being twee.
Ignore all that. This is bruised music that's lived a little and come back from the brink, and listening to it makes you feel like you've made a new friend.
This is a real 21st Century masterpiece for any music lover.
You know the real thing when you hear it
That's not the case with this collection. When I first had a listen to the previews above I thought it sounded a bit cold, but when I heard the whole songs they revealed themselves to be warm, beautiful and catchy. Sad but gently uplifting.
I buy way too many albums but this really is a standout.
Go get this gorgeous record. It keeps getting better.
Strangely enough, I was never a Beta Band fanatic but this is a dark and stunning album with hints of Joseph Arthur so that will immediately classify this for his fans.
Although it is dark and moody it is not like that all the way through although even the more upbeat numbers are tinged with gloom once the lyrics are listened to!
The one downside is the packaging etc where I threw away the wrapping only to discover that was the only way of identifying the various tracks without typing them out again!
Moody, melancholy, sad are all suitable words but you cannot get away from 'bruised and battered' as covering this perfectly.
A real gem in my opinion that will probably not be recognised for its true worth for some months.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this thinking that the bonus 'dub' version would be a fairly pointless addition, as it's not really my kind of thing, but these songs are so exquisitely put together, and... Read morePublished on 4 Jan. 2014 by Dawbo
More than i was expecting. Loved the Beta band cos of Mr Mason and the solo stuff is just as good. Brilliant songwriter and musician. Well worth listening to.Published on 28 Nov. 2013 by Ian Macleod
nice..........cool........chill ....relax.....enjoy...inspired ..inspiring..awakening.. educating reflective lala ho hum dum de dum de . Read morePublished on 16 Nov. 2013 by Dominic Carroll
Went back and bought this after being impressed with the new album, Monkey Minds in the Devil's Time. Read morePublished on 19 May 2013 by Ant_f
Not only is the original album, Boys Outside, every bit as good as the stuff Steve Mason put out with The Beta Band (high praise indeed), but the Dub version of the tracks work... Read morePublished on 3 Jan. 2012 by Ed
I bought this by virtue of being a life long Beta Band fan (their farewell tour was amazing). BUT I didn't expect it to be another Beta Band album, that would be a dis-service to... Read morePublished on 26 Nov. 2011 by paul round
I was always a fan of beta band tho after some black affair stuff I wasn't quite sure what I'd make of this album. After the first listen I've been regularly playing this, a gem! Read morePublished on 9 Oct. 2011 by Colin