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Monkey Minds In The Devil's Time

4.8 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (18 Mar. 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Domino Records
  • ASIN: B00AQSF3JE
  • Other Editions: Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,334 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

Monkey Minds in the Devil’s Time is an album saturated with politics. With a title referring to the Buddhist term for an easily distracted brain, the album features 20 songs: nine recorded in London with producer Dan Carey and 11 short linking pieces self-produced in Mason’s Fife studio. Monkey Minds in the Devil’s Time is an album that has been shaped by the current global political climate and the lack of dissenting voices in music and popular culture in general. The righteous, undaunted anger at the heart of the album has helped to create Mason’s best record to date.

BBC Review

“People forget that John Lennon was a political animal,” said Alan McGee, selling the politicised zeal behind Steve Mason’s false-dawn comeback as King Biscuit Time in 2006.

That album, Black Gold – released on McGee’s Poptones imprint – featured the George Bush-baiting dancehall skank of C I AM 15; but mostly a lot of fine future-folk, the kind that typified Mason’s previous outfit, The Beta Band.

His fans could be forgiven for forgetting he possessed a righteous political polemic with subsequent releases, especially his attempt to corner the Hot-Chip-fan-partial-to-a-bit-of-bondage demographic with the Black Affair project.

Angry and socially conscious he remains, though. Monkey Minds in the Devil’s Time, a sprawling, beautiful, brain-belch of an album, is an hour-long testament to this.

It works brilliantly as lo-fi movements in music segue into fuller, fleshed-out songs exemplified by The Old Problem, a haunting spoken word piece that shuffles into Lie Awake.

“At 15 years old I had to know / What makes you fail and what makes you grow,” coos Mason over descending bass and guitars that sit on a bed of digital mulch. It’s a profound, affecting opener, light years from The Beta Band Rap.

Dubby vignettes like The Last of the Heroes and funky kosmische workouts like Safe Population abound, but Mason is at his most satisfying when he employs his world-weary voice.

Lonely soars with melancholic-gospel-ennui, Oh My Lord is Sweet Home Alabama on a Bontempi keyboard, and Fight Them Back – arguably Mason’s finest piece of song-smithery since Dry the Rain – is air punching, proletariat mobilizing, insurrection-pop of the highest calibre.

Elsewhere, MC Mystro guests on More Money, More Fire, a vitriolic commentary on the Tottenham riots. Preceding this is the album’s most disconcerting moment: Behind the Curtain’s electronic miasma reveals itself to be an inversion of Rule Britannia, recalling Krzysztof Penderecki’s Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima.

Heart wins out, ultimately. Come to Me is tender and true, while From Hate We Hope illustrates Mason’s belief in humanity: “I remember being 10 years old / Looking at myself in the mirror thinking how amazing it is to be human… You do forget, you know.”

--Rich Hanscomb

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
What can I say, this has to be the most interesting and creative album I've listened to in a long time. When you play this its like taking a journey through music, it involves so many influences and interesting sounds, that keep changing with every song, almost like jazz. That said, this is definitely a record you need to listen to from start to finish, the songs work best together. MY album of the year for sure, I recommend this to anyone who appreciates any form of music.
Stop reading this and play the album now!
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Format: Audio CD
If you're reading this review because you're wondering whether to add the album to your basket, do it now. You won't be disappointed.

This 20 track album is a joyous hour of musical creativity, imagination and intrigue.

The general pattern of the record is full length song followed by a filler track, followed by a song and so on. But each element is so diverse, so interesting, you just can't predict what's coming next.

The singles you may have already heard (A lot of love, Oh my Lord) are fantastic in their own right but intertwine beautifully with what's around them, proving how the experience of a well crafted album can be greater than the sum of its parts.

Each band-recorded track is great with a special mention to Fire! and Come to Me (although these might change with another listen.) They all offer something different, from acoustic ballads and gospel to soul and hip-hop.

Meanwhile, the fillers, recorded by Mason alone, are anything but. Samples and riffs are underpinned by funky bass, ambience, dub and brooding electronica. Rather than padding out what's already there, they offer another dimension and demonstrate Mason's trickery and imagination.

All these elements create an album with such sublime structure and flow that before you know it, the last track is upon you, and you've just got enough time to reflect, smile, put the kettle one and press play again to find something new to enjoy.

Quite simply the best album I've heard on a long, long time.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In a television piece I saw yesterday, it stated that One Direction could become the first billionaire boy band .... such is their appeal, the music is incidental! What a world we live in...

Fortunately, we have Steve Mason in it too. 15 years after first seeing The Beta Band perform an unforgettable performance on stage, samurai swords, swapping instruments without dropping a beat etc, in front of a lucky handful, he releases this wee gem. Not a bad track on it. This really is an impressive piece of work. And it flows so well, from the Jock Scot-esque spoken intro of 'The Old Problem' all the way through to 'Come to Me'.

It's hard not to want to listen to this in it's entirety, because that's what it deserves. A proper album then and a real pleasure.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
An album worthy of the five stars. Great production, great songs and probably Steve's best work. Powerful messages throughout and highly recommended
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Format: MP3 Download
This is easily Steve Mason's best work, I know its only March but I can't see there being a better album than this out this year!! A must have for everyone!
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Steve Mason has this hauntingly beautiful voice which kind of whispers over your shoulder and sends shivers down your spine. This is a worthy successor to " Boys Outside " and the single " Oh My Lord " should be be compulsory listening to students of Folktronica music. The album is really that good. Buy it now you won't be disappointed.
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This is a collection of quality songs from Steve Mason. I bought his last album after hearing "All Come Down", which is a lovely song. The rest of the album was OK but I hadn't marked Steve down on my "must buy" list of artists.

Then I heard "Oh My Lord" on 6 music, the pre-album single from this release. Again, I found it extremely catchy and singing along whenever it came on the radio. I took the plunge with Monkey Minds... and I'm so happy that I did. The album is full of classy tunes and is constructed as an album, great to listen to from start to finish as one.

This will be high up on many Best Of.. lists towards the end of the year, maybe a Mercury nomination???
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Great album, a real grower.

I'd not heard of Steve Mason until this year, so I'm no die-hard fan or anything.

I think this would appeal to many different tastes and has good longevity. Track 4 'Lot of Love' is a beautifully written song.
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