One thing we’ve come never to expect from Steve Mason is a dull album, and this twenty-track semi-opus is no different. The spoken-word pieces and samples that link each song, rather than being mere distractions, feel integral and necessary to the music, and Mason’s inherent ability as a songwriter is once again in plain view on the Beatles-esque melodic simplicity of ‘A Lot Of Love’ and on ‘Lonely’ – a mildly euphoric vignette brushed with gospel touches. Whether on a straightforward indie-pop record, or a semi-concept album such as this, Mason’s talent seem to always shine through. Elsewhere, ‘More Money, More Fire’ is a seething, politically enraged hip-hop track sung by a guest MC, which sits somewhat incongruously amongst the indie haze yet is all the more full of impact for it. Nine years post-Beta Band, Steve Mason remains a formidable sonic architect.

Read all of our new album reviews here, in this month’s Loud And Quiet

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