Boys Outside - Steve Mason
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. He's turned a hard patch into something transcendental. However brief, however ephemeral, there's a sense of spiritual overcoming that encompasses not just his own history, but the experiences that listeners bring to these sad songs, as well.
  2. This album offers an elegant blend of trilling piano, strummed guitar and crisp digital beats, but it's dominated by Mason's voice, and his monastic chants prove as soothing and stirring as when they wafted across The Beta Band's deathless debut 'Dry The Rain'.
  3. Boys Outside is a confident, stripped-down affair that benefits from the pop smarts of co-producer Richard X (Sugababes).
  4. It defies the listener not to nod their head and tap a foot, layering foreboding piano, languid acoustic guitar and a swampy riff under semi-rapped verses and a chorus about being found at the bottom of a river, and demonstrates Mason embracing his albatross with the ease of a man only too pleased to have one.
  5. This is the most balanced album of Mason's career, or certainly the least precipitous. There is still a yawning void beneath him, but for once it doesn't sound as if he's about to fall into it, and you can't help but share his relief.
  6. In both its lyrical candour and soft-rock accessibility, Boys Outside sees Mason ready to meet the public again, and in some cases, actually cater to it.
  7. Mason's career has been one of constant starts and stops and side-project misdirections (for his fans, at least), so the straightforwardly eccentric Boys Outside is clearly a record to treasure.
  8. It's fitting that Mason reserved his first official solo album for his best work since The Beta Band. The results prove well worth the wait.
  9. Boys Inside is Mason's best work since his Beta Band days - a rich, dark slice of mournful, glacial electronica with a heart. Richard X has smoothed away the edges, yet lets Mason stamp his personality on proceedings.
  10. In this stripped-back setting, in which Mason's muted guitar and piano melodies are given a subtle electronic frosting by producer Richard X, his meditations on depression and heartbreak are devastatingly direct
  11. Like his psychedelic forebear, Mason's music is evocative enough of his former glories to draw those fans in, but compelling enough on its own to keep them there.
  12. So Boys Outside has its experimental elements after all, but only by degrees. Mason starts with sturdily constructed songs, then loosens the screws one by one.
  13. Typically heavy subject matter aside, Mason actually seems more content in his skin than he has in some time, and anyone who has previously garnered enjoyment from the Beta Band or King Biscuit Time will unquestionably find something to dig within Boys Outside.
  14. 80
    Less electronic than the albums he made under his King Biscuit Time and Black Affair aliases, it's Mason's best post-Beta Band work. [Jun 2010, p.98]
  15. 80
    Boys Outside is truly lovely, Mason's finest solo record, but it's safe to say an album of sentimental ballads may not satisfy those who still hanker after the maverick, impulsive spirit of The Beta Band. [May 2010, p.95]
  16. There's a sleek electronic sheen but also a welcome return to stripped-down songcraft. [Jun 2010, p.126]
User Score
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No user score yet- Awaiting 2 more ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Sep 16, 2010
    9
    What a great album. A slow burner that invades the room and your mind. So nice to here guitars drums and piano complemented by just the right dose of electronics. The songs are beautiful and the voice is lovely. Steve Masons vocals are very distinctive almost "gregorian" in nature and permeate a wonderful tapestry of sound. One of my favourite cds of the year and one that I will play in the future as it has a classical quality about it. Highly recommended for the lovers of intelligent, background or distinctively vocal music. Full Review »