Music News

Mason

Listen closely to their second full-length and you can actually hear the members of Mason going through puberty. Which is to say, there's a lot of straining, questioning, aching — and not a little whining — wrapped up in You Were Supposed to Be Beautiful. If that sounds intolerable or if you're over the age of 22, have a mortgage, don't have a MySpace profile, or enjoy standard "singing" in your music, Mason ain't your cup. If being on the looking-end of the microscope as a brazenly loud, emotionally tormented, and surprisingly sophisticated quintet of confidently misfit musicians dissects itself in vitro over the course of 11 songs sounds appealing, step right up.

Here's where Gen X (me) and Gen Y (the band) will forever diverge: I can totally appreciate this music for its energy and technical finesse, but never in a million years would I choose to listen to it. Call it screamo, call it nü-post-punk rock, call it whatever you like. Mason's music — angsty but hopeful, passionate but detached — is defined better by generational distinction than a genre tag. So let's define it accordingly:

< 22: Intense, nails-on-chalkboard guitar; syncopated, off-kilter tempos; obliquely tortured lyrics; tightly wound progressions; brainiac chord progressions; epiphanic crescendos. Mmm, that's good screamo.

> 22: Overambitious waltz-metal with awful, razor blades-down-the-throat vocals. Do kids really listen to this?

Yeah, old-timer, they do.

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Jonathan Zwickel