Steve Mason – Monkey Minds in the Devil's Time
In both breadth and depth, Steve Mason’s new opus is a lot to assay. A far-reaching concept album with an ardent heart, it’s driven thematically by fiery dissent and musically by restless exploration. Its 20-track girth helps facilitate this diversity, as Mason interlinks a core set of songs with an array of wing-spreading vignettes: from slivers of moody dub to pointed speech samples; collages of palette-cleansing noise to a piquant guest spot from London MC Mystro, dissecting the London riots to a sturdy backbeat.
The longer offerings display as much inspiration, with A Lot of Love’s blissful introspection, Lonely’s gracious gospel and Fight Them Back’s impassioned rallying cry but three of the many highlights. Sequenced with a raconteur’s exactitude, the narrative that forms has both definition and emotional heft (with closer Come to Me possibly the album’s most affecting five minutes), conveying an uncommon integrity and re-affirming Mason’s invigorating talents.