Steve Mason - Boys Outside

Album Review by Euan Ferguson | 22 Apr 2010
Album title: Boys Outside
Artist: Steve Mason
Label: Double SIx
Release date: 3 May

The post-split material released by ex-Beta Band members has been almost as enigmatic as the group’s seminal output on their three EPs and albums. Singer Steve Mason kept the BB’s haphazard dedication to esoterica alive with the hip-hop-inflected King Biscuit Time then the electro sleaze of Black Affair. After shelving both projects before they reached any kind of maturity, he’s dropped the aliases and almost all sonic superfluities for Boys Outside – ten tracks of Mason’s plaintive voice, guitars and placid rhythms.

Single All Come Down announced this new style and remains an ethereal highlight, with Mason echoing like a lone cosmic choirboy over a Massive Attack beat. Producer Richard X doesn’t add any of the expected high-gloss finish, instead leaving only honest, almost uncomplicated structures and some damn fine tunes. Recording under autonym doesn’t give an artist anywhere to hide, but Mason seems untroubled by this: Boys Outside is an endearingly personal and sporadically enchanting experience. [Euan Ferguson]