Mason Proper – Olly Oxen Free (2008)

Mason Proper - Olly Oxen FreeIt’s not everyday you hear a band that comes into your life and gets out just as quickly, never lingering for riff raff and never leaving you the least bit unsatisfied. That’s just how Michigan-born band Mason Proper rolls.

Formerly named Patterns, the quintet enjoyed a sort of rebirth before releasing their full-length debut There Is A Moth In Your Chest in 2006. Suddenly in such demand, Mason Proper joined music label Dovecote Records, rereleased the LP, and seemingly never stopped touring.

Singer Jonathan Visger never seemed to stop making music, whether it be for Mason Proper (also including keyboardist Matt Thompson, bassist Zac Fineberg, guitarist Brian Konicek and drummer Garrett Jones) or his own solo work. While the title might remind you of your childhood days, the sophomore album Olly Oxen Free does little to bring you back to those carefree times.

Instead of recalling days of endless summers, you recall lost memories you can never relive again. The opening “Fog” focuses on the haze that develops when your future and past appear as blurry as true happiness: “I found a crystal ball, but I lost it / I bought a tea leaf to find out where you are / But I drank it.”

“Point A To Point B” follows to where that hopelessness is made even worse during the journey to find some sort of relief and enlightenment: “I travel from point a, to point b, to point c / Trying to fall from grace along the way / To get lower and lower and lower.” Not all is gloom and doom. Mason Proper just used the moodiness of puberty to examine the more comforting parts of life: complacency and the chance of a blissful existence.

Olly Oxen Free is more like a carousel of emotion rather than a revolving door of chaos. Songs like the rebellious “Lock And Key” and the dour “In The Mirror” are simply hurdles that everyone faces and need to experience. I mean can you really appreciate something like “Shiny” without having to go through a “Downpour?”

CMJ New Music Monthly said it best when they described Mason Proper’s music as “a consistent juxtaposition of punk defiance across eerie plains of cascading indie rock.”

Mason Proper

Mason Proper

[photos via Sneak Attack Media]

Track list:

    1. Fog
    2. Point A To Point B
    3. Lock And Key
    4. Only A Moment
    5. Out Dragging The River
    6. In The Mirror
    7. Downpour
    8. Shiny
    9. Alone
    10. Safe For The Time Being

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