Steve Mason: Boys Outside (Double Six/Domino) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, July 12th, 2024  

Issue #31 - Spring 2010 - Joanna NewsomSteve Mason

Boys Outside

Double Six/Domino

Jun 22, 2010 Issue #31 - Spring 2010 - Joanna Newsom Bookmark and Share

For years, Steve Mason’s debt-ridden music career has been under the raised axe of the executioner. If there’s any justice in this world, widespread acclaim for Boys Outside will grant a permanent stay of execution for the one-time Beta Band frontman.

Though name checked by Noel Gallagher, Thom Yorke, and John Cusack’s character in High Fidelity, The Beta Band wasn’t widely embraced by record buyers. The psychedelic folktronica group was often so whimsical-it seemingly named its second album, Hot Shots II, after a hapless Charlie Sheen comedy-that many listeners couldn’t get past the wacky touches to appreciate the strong melodies. Faced with plummeting critical and commercial support, the Scots wryly titled their final album Heroes to Zeros.

Mason needn’t resort to gallows humor any longer. Boys Outside is a confident, stripped-down affair that benefits from the pop smarts of co-producer Richard X (Sugababes). The first single, “Lost and Found,” pivots on a frisky piano figure over a loping rhythm. “All Come Down” is acoustic adult pop framed with soft-hued beats. Best of all, “The Letter” boasts an orchestral chorus that swoops in like a cavalry rescue. There’s plenty of leftfield experimentation, too. On “Yesterday,” keyboard notes echo like pings of sonar, while a pensive bassline reverberates in one’s ribcage.

Mason always had an appealing voice, but it’s never been as soulfully expressive as it is here. Chalk that up to life experience. “I pay no mind to all the broken dreams/I say I’ll never fall in love again,” he laments on “I Let Her In.”

Unlike Mason’s previous pseudonymous solo projects, Boys Outside has commercial potential to cross over to fans of David Gray and Damien Rice. (

Author rating: 8/10

Rate this album
Average reader rating: 9/10


Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published


Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

June 24th 2010

Lost and Found and I Let Het In alone are worth the price of admission.

March 8th 2012

just what an brilliant web site. Your info has helped me with my researching. I am in college and I have a term paper to write. I was most likely going to get real custom essays on the web, luckily your web page has aided me overcome writers obstruct and I find that I’m able to proceed without any help. Thank you all for this great material.

January 14th 2013

Thank You, thank you, THANK YOU !!!Had to work on HullabaLOU weekend, so this is gr8, almsot makes up for missing you and I did respond to the “Why the Villebillies should play next year again” request y’all made !  Thanks again, a fan from the 1st time I heard ya on the radio !! DJX99.7 Y’all ROCK!VA:F [1.9.11_1134]please wait…VA:F [1.9.11_1134](from 0 votes)

January 14th 2013

Interesting.Your music-sense and image-sense (as seen in your on the fly work) are not at all dissimilar.  I hear the same peorsn, same rhythms, same sensibility in each. Can you create sound on the fly and at the same time with your images.That would be something to see!