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Alternative & Indie - Released March 18, 2013 | Double Six Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 18, 2019 | Double Six Records

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Following 2016's excellent Meet the Humans, former Beta Band mastermind Steve Mason takes a more organic and collaborative approach on his fourth solo album, About the Light. While his later catalog has increasingly revealed his acumen as a more straightforward pop songwriter, the Fife native's reputation as a wily studio maverick who builds glorious tracks out of odd bits and bobs has stuck with him since his early days. Having proven many times over that his signature approach yields fruit, Mason decided to take a leap into the unknown, employing his live band to write, rehearse, and record together as a team. Produced by Stephen Street (Morrissey, Blur, the Cranberries), About the Light combines the strong melodicism and thoughtful songwriting of its predecessor with the cumulative energy and spontaneity of group effort, making for a distinctive and deeply engaging entry in Mason's canon. Added to the expected synth, piano, and guitar elements are mighty brass sections and female backing vocals, lending a soulful touch to the ten songs which range in tone from muscular and funky to dreamy and mysterious. Lush opener "America Is Your Boyfriend" is an obvious highlight with its infectious percussion track and massive chorus. Likewise, "Stars Around My Heart" hits a perfect blend of catchy new wave rhythms and rich soul with Mason's unique voice emitting its smooth airy power. The jangly "No Clue" and the eerie "Fox on the Rooftop" also hit their marks, adding diversity within the album's streamlined parameters. Well-conceived, vibrant, and executed with attitude and aplomb, About the Light is a career standout for Mason. ~ Timothy Monger
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Alternative & Indie - Released February 26, 2016 | Double Six Records

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After the intensity and sheer breadth of 2013's politically charged Monkey Minds in the Devil's Time, Steve Mason returns with his most cohesive and fully realized solo effort yet. In a deliberate step away from the thematic sweep of his first two solo releases, the former Beta Band and King Biscuit Time maestro uncorks a set of pop songs that stand proudly as independent pieces, yet make for an even greater whole. Produced by Elbow's Craig Potter, Meet the Humans manages to distill Mason's lush melancholia and maverick pop acumen into 11 strong tracks that refer to his two decades of recording while delivering something new. The album opens with the warm embrace of "Water Bored," an inspired bit of polyrhythmic, piano-led melodicism that introduces a more hopeful and resolved artist than on his prior solo output. Echoes of the Beta Band's nonconformist post-Brit-pop can be heard in the beats and tones of "Alive!," which revives Mason's relationship with the melodica, and "Words in My Head," the album's darkly epic closer. A live band feeling ignites the horn-laden "Another Day," and the buoyant Kristina Train-aided "To a Door" confronts death with a heady confidence that makes it feel like the centerpiece of the whole collection. Mason's hushed voice is in fine form throughout and Potter's production style draws from his own band's romantic landscapes, complementing the material well. The impeccably crafted tension and relief on "Planet Sizes" are classic Steve Mason as he builds the pounding, minor-key verses into a beautifully glimmering chorus, cleverly toying with the listener's emotions. Fans of any of Mason's earlier projects will find something to love on what is easily the gifted popsmith's best solo effort to date. ~ Timothy Monger
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Pop/Rock - Released July 25, 2011 | Double Six Records

From the first few seconds of Steve Mason's first full-length under his own name (following one as King Biscuit Time and one as Black Affair), the results could be a Beta Band reunion in full force, with all the crushing beats and junk-shop audio detritus to boot. But it soon becomes clear that Mason's production partner, Richard X, is having a subtle influence, one that pushes Boys Outside into adult alternative territory. While that may be worrisome for Mason's long-time fans, it bodes well for those who have long wondered whether his voice would always remain one of the best-kept secrets in the alternative/indie world. Compared to Beta Band material, the songs here are given a sharper touch but also a softer focus, and Mason's vocals (always a highlight of the records he appeared on) are given the foreground. His vocals still evoke some sort of Scottish high lonesome sound, although his range hasn't expanded much in a dozen years of music-making. (Considering his dearth of material over the past eight years, most listeners will be thankful for this.) His lyrical themes remain bewildered and self-indicting. It's easy to get the feeling that the cover, which is completely black, is an act of fatalistic self-resignation; when he sings "The river runs baby, and it calls for me," the unavoidable impression is that he'll soon be floating along in it, face down. Mason and Richard X do an excellent job of sanding off the rough edges of Mason's past Beta Band material, leaving listeners with more melodic and harmonic treats to enrich their discovery of his many lyrical delicacies. Mason's career has been one of constant starts and stops and side-project misdirections (for his fans, at least), so the straightforwardly eccentric Boys Outside is clearly a record to treasure. ~ John Bush
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Pop/Rock - Released May 3, 2010 | Double Six Records

From the first few seconds of Steve Mason's first full-length under his own name (following one as King Biscuit Time and one as Black Affair), the results could be a Beta Band reunion in full force, with all the crushing beats and junk-shop audio detritus to boot. But it soon becomes clear that Mason's production partner, Richard X, is having a subtle influence, one that pushes Boys Outside into adult alternative territory. While that may be worrisome for Mason's long-time fans, it bodes well for those who have long wondered whether his voice would always remain one of the best-kept secrets in the alternative/indie world. Compared to Beta Band material, the songs here are given a sharper touch but also a softer focus, and Mason's vocals (always a highlight of the records he appeared on) are given the foreground. His vocals still evoke some sort of Scottish high lonesome sound, although his range hasn't expanded much in a dozen years of music-making. (Considering his dearth of material over the past eight years, most listeners will be thankful for this.) His lyrical themes remain bewildered and self-indicting. It's easy to get the feeling that the cover, which is completely black, is an act of fatalistic self-resignation; when he sings "The river runs baby, and it calls for me," the unavoidable impression is that he'll soon be floating along in it, face down. Mason and Richard X do an excellent job of sanding off the rough edges of Mason's past Beta Band material, leaving listeners with more melodic and harmonic treats to enrich their discovery of his many lyrical delicacies. Mason's career has been one of constant starts and stops and side-project misdirections (for his fans, at least), so the straightforwardly eccentric Boys Outside is clearly a record to treasure. ~ John Bush
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 12, 2018 | Double Six Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 26, 2018 | Double Six Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 6, 2016 | Double Six Records

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Pop/Rock - Released August 15, 2010 | Double Six Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 23, 2009 | Black Melody Limited

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Electro - Released November 23, 2009 | Black Melody Limited

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Pop/Rock - Released March 19, 2010 | Double Six Records

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Pop/Rock - Released July 4, 2011 | Double Six Records

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Pop/Rock - Released May 2, 2011 | Double Six Records

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Pop/Rock - Released May 2, 2011 | Double Six Records

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Pop/Rock - Released November 15, 2010 | Double Six Records

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Pop/Rock - Released April 19, 2010 | Double Six Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 12, 2014 | Double Six Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 17, 2013 | Double Six Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 18, 2013 | Double Six Records