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.
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.
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!
Heard SM on BBC6 and decided to give the album a listen. Cant't stop playing it. So clever and so varied you could never tire of it. OK there are Elbow comparisons on certain tracks but he has a harder edge and goes to places they would never dream of. You wont regret the purchase!
Monkey Minds In the Devil's Time by Steve Mason (2013) A review by Louis P. Burns aka Lugh.
I bought Monkey Minds In the Devil's Time by Steve Mason last week and can honestly say it has proven itself to be a deeply empowering, rewarding and uplifting lyrical and musical experience. I keep going back to it and playing it from start to finish. It cruises and glides magnificently and is without doubt my album of choice from 2013.
Each time I listen to it I rediscover bits of myself and how I used to think back when I was at my most creative as a writer. I really needed that to happen. Everything that the song's music and lyrics are playing and saying has resynchronised me with me, the world I'm in and all I have lived my entire life to be.'
Seriously folks, if you want to feel alive and fully reconnected again. Buy yourselves or someone you 'dig' a copy of Monkey Minds In the Devil's Time by Steve Mason. I can assure you that good things will happen :) ...