Sunday, September 28, 2008
Mason Proper Streamline their Sound on New Release "Olly Olly Oxen Free"
I first heard Mason Proper at an old radio station meeting as the staff were doling out new CD's for the club members to review. I heard the first few seconds of "A Chance Encounter" off of their acclaimed debut CD "There is a Moth in Your Chest", and once I heard the swooshing sythesizer and echo affected vocals, I was intrigued. Upon further examination the album proved to have many gems, among which were the manic synth driven "Lights Off" and thier hyper guitar heavy jam "My My (Bad Fruit)", that was reminiscent somewhat of the Pixies, but with a smidge of synth . The album went on to become one of my top albums of 2007.
The Ann Arbor, Michigan group released a stylistically impressive EP entitled "Shorthand" earlier this year and a few stylistically impressive videos to match. As of September 23, 2008, the band have a new album out entitled "Olly Olly Oxen Free". The biggest thing I noticed upon the first listen is that Mason proper have adopted a "Less is more" philosophy on this record. Gone are the wild tempos and reckless sounds. Everything here is carefully constructed. Thats not to say that there aren't experimental sounds to be heard on this record, in fact there are some sounds on here that are as satisfying as anything the Mason Proper crew has assembled. The sound overall is much more premeditated, and dare I say, even pretty. Jonathan Visgr's capable vocals soar to the front of the mix showing that he can make mid-tempo rockers pump and writhe, and the locking bass drum combo accentuates the pulse of each song perfectly. Don't fret, those glorious keys and piano that made "There is a Moth in Your Chest" so exciting aren't absent, making a strong showing on "Only a Moment" and "Shiny". Mason Proper have even added in some horns on some tracks to expand thier musical pallete. They've made a much more cohesive album than their debut, one you could easilly find yourself lost in it for hours. Mason Proper are on top of their game, at their quirky crazy best, and confident enough not to hit you over the head with that fact.
Mason Proper - Fog
Mason Proper - Shiny
Mason Proper Myspace