Eclectic and ambitious as ever, Mason Proper returns from the trenches with their sophomore full-length, Olly Oxen Free, due September 23 via Dovecote Records (Ed Harcourt, Tim Williams). Like the childhood phrase it’s named after, the LP sparkles with a youthful exuberance but never veers too far from the band’s trademark territory of the dark and deranged. Co-produced by Mason Proper and Chris Coady (TV on the Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Blonde Redhead), Olly Oxen Free lures you into the strange and fantastic world of the band from the first swell of ominous organ and guitar in opener, “Fog.” “My horoscope said pack your bags/Running low on hope, I can’t get back,” Visger relents. The moody intro leads into, “Point A to Point B,” a gloomy head bobber where he exclaims, “In past lives I was wealthy so probably unhappy/I’m so glad I died.” The ten-song collection concludes with “Safe for the Time Being,” a post-apocalyptic slow burner that stays sparse with only a heartbeat kick drum, thin guitar, and Visger’s dynamic vocal, ultimately exploding into a grand wall of fuzz.
RIYL: Cloud Cult, Pinback, Dears, Anathallo
TRY: #1, 3, 4, 8
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