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Boys Outside

4.8 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Product details

  • Audio CD (3 May 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Domino Records
  • ASIN: B003GA5WZE
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,985 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

CD Description

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.

BBC Review

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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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Has there ever been a better or more calculated "musical intervention" than when John Cusack playing "Rob" in the film "Hi Fidelity" put on "Dry the Rain" from the Beta Bands transcendent folk album "the Three EPs" and the punters in his record shop lapped it up (it was lucky that Cusack didn't play Monolith!). Indeed at one point during the early part of this century it looked like the Beta's mix of musical alchemy and sheer dottiness would conquer the earth. If they could have only translated the critical praise they received into record sales they would have been superstars. Alas it was not to be but its great to see in 2010 the very welcome return of Steve Mason the original architect of the Beta Band on this excellent new LP "Boys outside".

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.
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Format: MP3 Download
Watching the Beta Band on stage for the last time at the Eden Project supporting Supergrass brought home the full tragedy of how a band so great were ultimately sold down the river by their record company who insisted on big sales from a cult band.

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.
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Format: Audio CD
Anyone with a passing interest in music will know the Beta Band nearly collided with the times but were just out of reach.

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
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Format: Audio CD
I was always a fan of the Beta Band, but never fealt like they strung together a whole album (3 EPs included in that) that I particularly wanted to listen to all the way through again and again.

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.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I just love Steve Mason's passion - the words, the emotion, the beat, and especially the raw power of his songs. He writes so personally and as ever, the more personal something is, the more universal its appeal.
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Format: Audio CD
One of the earlier reviewers describes this as 'bruised' etc and it is the most accurate word I can think of to apply to what I feel is one of the best albums so far in 2010.
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.
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