After 2010’s deeply personal Boys Outside, Mason’s second solo album explores the global political climate – perhaps inevitable following his increasingly angry on-stage outbursts about Tony Blair and the past decade’s pointless warfare. An attack on the lack of dissenting voices in popular culture, if this isn’t Mason’s bona fide masterpiece, it’s certainly approaching it.
Recorded with Bat For Lashes/Toy producer Dan Carey, Monkey Minds In The Devil’s Time is a nine-song album with 11 linking pieces, ranging in length from a handful of seconds to a few minutes (the ska-infused The Last Of Heroes or the bells’n’bass groove of Safe Population to the grinding musique concrète of Behind The Curtains), giving the whole an unmistakably melancholy feel. Sonically, it’s akin to Paul McCartney’s debut solo album, with its doodles and bridging pieces adding to, rather than distracting from, the quality of the songs. But that’s where the similarity ends.
More Money, More Fire and Fight The Back, the former featuring London MC Mystro, examine the 2011 London riots, while Lonely stands out as one of the best songs Mason’s ever written: full of pathos and augmented with a female choir. Elsewhere, the more personal Close To Me provides an optimistic closer to something you only want to hear in its entirety.