Monkey Minds in the Devil's Time

Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
Buy On
  1. Mar 20, 2013
    90
    Steve Mason is realizing his musical vision confidently, typified by the jump between the rather moving sampling of Brazilian commentary from a glorious Ayrton Senna lap, complete with soaring engines ("The Last of the Heroes"), to the pained yet undoubtedly uplifting, piano-led gospel of "Lonely."
  2. Apr 9, 2013
    79
    Monkey Minds’ sharp, late-act turn into politicized proselytizing may seem jarring at first, but then it’s an accurate reflection of how politics can suddenly intrude upon our lives and upend our worldview.
  3. Uncut
    Mar 8, 2013
    90
    A soulful, adventurous, state-of-the-nation classic. [Apr 2013, p.73]
  4. Q Magazine
    Mar 11, 2013
    80
    Like Boys Outside, Monkey Minds casts Steve Mason as a gifted songwriter, a world-worn bringer of anger, melancholy, hope and melody. [Apr 2013, p.96]
  5. 70
    It’s not only the boldness of Mason’s subject matter that makes this a brilliantly disquieting record, but also his ability to make it consistently warm and wholesome.
  6. May 1, 2013
    70
    At 20 tracks long, it gets a little over-familiar. The meandering "Operation Mason" and "Never Be Alone" would have been best abandoned in the cutting room. But what remains is a buxom sonic treasure trove.
  7. Mar 13, 2013
    80
    Monkey Minds In The Devil’s Time is a rich and literate album, which inspires conversation and debate.
  8. Mar 25, 2013
    80
    Mason might have a lot of worries on his mind, but he’s managed to express them beautifully here.
  9. Mar 8, 2013
    80
    The whole is absorbing, invigorating, thrillingly distinct.
  10. Mar 13, 2013
    80
    Angry and socially conscious he remains, though. Monkey Minds in the Devil’s Time, a sprawling, beautiful, brain-belch of an album, is an hour-long testament to this.
  11. 80
    It is flawed--a few too many diversions and distractions, and one or two experiments that don’t really work--but the best thing about Monkey Mind In The Devil’s Mind is the simple way it frequently reminds you how good a songwriter Mason is.
  12. Mar 20, 2013
    80
    If Mason’s last album Boys Outside was a window on his struggles with mental ill-health, Monkey Minds moves from micro to macro as he harnesses his strong sense of social justice, while continuing to hone the crisp electronics that so perfectly soundtrack his ghostly, exhortatory vocals.
  13. 80
    On his most rewarding release since The Beta Band, Steve Mason grapples with politics both public and personal, but in a warm, engaging manner that draws the listener in.
  14. Jun 4, 2013
    100
    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.
  15. It's testament to his songcraft that it feels all of a piece.
User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 11 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Jul 21, 2014
    9
    This baffling album has 10 fantastic melodic songs totalling 44 minutes that I love, interspersed with 10 annoying noise tracks totallingThis baffling album has 10 fantastic melodic songs totalling 44 minutes that I love, interspersed with 10 annoying noise tracks totalling about 10 minutes that I hope I never hear again! Do yourself a favour and buy this on MP3 so you can delete the bizarre filler stuff and keep only the beautiful music. Truly amazing. Full Review »
  2. Feb 13, 2014
    8
    Monkey Minds... apart from a couple of random and slightly unwanted moments, is a great album. Although at the 20 track format, it staysMonkey Minds... apart from a couple of random and slightly unwanted moments, is a great album. Although at the 20 track format, it stays around 40 minutes and has a sense of (unlike a lot of music out there) meaning. Steve Mason, I thank you. Full Review »
  3. Jun 1, 2013
    7
    Steve Mason started his musical career in the excellent Beta Band and has subsequently been through a few guises (King Biscuit Time, BlackSteve Mason started his musical career in the excellent Beta Band and has subsequently been through a few guises (King Biscuit Time, Black Affair) here he releases ‘Monkey Minds In The Devil’s Time’ his second under his own name and perhaps his best work since those early days. Twenty tracks, nine full songs and eleven bridging sections the record is overloaded with ideas and styles that remarkably don’t clash and in fact flow along brilliantly making the listening of the album a real musical joy. Among the in-between vignettes we get spoken word ‘The Old Problem’, sampled radio commentary ‘The Last of Heroes’, electronic dub ‘Operation Mason’ and even rap ‘More Money, More Fire’ but it’s in the actual proper songs that Mason shines. The full gospel choir on ‘Lonely’, the urgency of the brass section on ‘Fire’ that gives the song a real punch and the angelic keys that run throughout ‘Oh My Lord’. During the verses of ‘Never Be Alone’ Mason sounds like Elbow’s Guy Garvey before slipping back into his unmistakable Beta Band twang during the chorus. ‘Seen It All Before’ sounds not unlike a Hot Chip track as Mason sings ‘Here I go again on the floor’ over the beats. But for me the two stand out tracks have to be ‘Fight Them Back’ with its call to arms ‘a fist, a boot and a baseball bat’ and the beautiful ‘A Lot of Love’ the sublime piano refrain making it instantly catchy. Lyrically Mason is still battling his demons; open about his depression there is one heart breaking spoken word line contained here almost hidden in ‘From Hate We Hope’. ‘I think I was about ten, it was Christmas and I looked at myself and thought how amazing it is to be a human being, but you do forget’ its inclusion is honest, brave and poignant. The album title refers to a Buddhist term for an easily distracted brain and I’m just glad Mason is at a stage where he can turn his vitriol onto the world around and not back on himself and in doing so give us another glimpse of the genius that first emerged all those years ago with ‘The Three E.P.s’. Full Review »