Steve Mason – Boys Outside (Domino Records)


You have to feel a little sorry for Steve Mason. He made some great music as leader of The Beta Band, but they never had the success they deserved. Perhaps they were a little ahead of their time, or maybe they self-sabotaged their career by trashing their first full-length album in the press prior to release. Since the band called it a day in 2004, Mason has released albums as King Biscuit Time and The Black Affair, neither of which did much to establish his solo career. Now he’s having another go at it, releasing Boy’s Outside – his first album under his real name. The good news is that Mason’s in top form as a vocalist and lyricist; delivering each song with a soul-searching introspection that matches the “quiet storm” of his voice. Where the album falls short is with co-producer Richard X’s pop-tronica sheen that reduces the music to mere background noise. One of the great things about the Beta Band was that the band’s psychedelic/folk/electronica music was as engaging as Mason’s vocals, and without that kind of backing, Boys Outside only provides flashes of the great album it could have been.

Tracklisting:

  1. Understand My Heart
  2. Am I Just A Man
  3. The Letter
  4. Yesterday
  5. Lost & Found
  6. I Let Her In
  7. Stress Position
  8. All Come Down
  9. Boys Outside
  10. Hound On My Heel