After a fairly tumultuous history with the Beta Band, which fell fairly steeply from its precarious position at the top of their own world down into a broken rubble of debt, Steve Mason has continued to steadily release album after album of inspired music.
Meet The Humans may very well be his best so far.
Sprinkled with the sparklingly dreamy melodies and charming understated vocal delivery that he’s known for, this album is just under an hour of pure, near perfect, pop pleasure.
His lyrics are melancholy, self effacing and surprisingly tender as he reminisces on his depression bouts, broken relationships and the simple adventure of living life.
Like a slow turning roast, the album seems to soak in its own juices and gets richer as its grooves turn, opening slightly timidly and then finding voice at about the quarter way mark with the brass-filled Another Day.
This is followed by the tumbling chord progression of Run Away which hooks you in sweetly and doesn’t let go until the album closes a good half hour later.
Tracks like Hardly Go Through, a fragile ghost of a song, the anthemic Like Water and the tense Planet Sizes are simply glorious - atmospheric, emotionally charged and quietly reflective of things good and bad.
And the combination of that Mason voice wrapping itself around you like a sleepy pair of arms and a production ethic that finely balances clever juxtaposition with the strength of simplicity creates something altogether quite special.
Musician, actor, singer, music reviewer, Phil’s interests cover a lot of bases and this is reflected in the music he writes about. From blues to soul, ambient to electronic, Phil writes about artists he feels are interesting, true to their craft and worthy of your ears.