It is rare outside the contamination that is country music to hear a happy song these days and Conor Mason duly seems more than happy to keep it downbeat all the way through his latest album “On The Surface”.
Assuming supply follows demand, there must be a lot of people out there who never have, or want, a reason to smile and, should they feel the need to drown in minor chord melancholy, then this album would be nothing less than the perfect soundtrack. Keeping it bleak is, of course, also an artistic choice yet it is one that suits Conor Mason well for his intellectual reflections have both a certain poetic grace and an appealing sense of scale. This approach ensures that his musical style is never really subsumed by the bleak substance of his songs and it is also an approach that works particularly well when lifting “Follow” and “On The Surface” towards the light.
It is true that none of the songs here have the immediacy needed for a chart hit but “On The Surface” is nonetheless an album that merits your attention in moonlit moments of quiet reflection.