“Standstill represents the big race up the hill of self-actualisation, some get to the top no sweat and some get so far and plateau, others are constantly going back down to begin the climb again” Armellodie Records proudly presents the delectable talents of Conor Mason with his new album, Standstill.
Born and raised in the old walled city on the banks of the River Foyle, Conor Mason has been brought up swimming in musical heritage in his beloved hometown of Derry, N. Ireland. “My da ran a choir (as his father did before him) and they used to rehearse in our home, my ma sang in the choir too and I used to listen in from the next room.
Then around the age of 8, after my parents heard me playing by ear the music of an Irish mass my da had written, they dutifully sent me off for classical piano lessons. They were both music lovers, to the extent that even the small boat my da would take me and my brothers out fishing in was called ‘Iolanthe’, named after the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera.” Standstill is in fact the third album from the Irish songwriter, with two previous offerings, Let It Unfold (2007) and When It’s Over (2009) suitably home-recorded and self-distributed freely through cyberspace, earning Mason a solid reputation in his native land with a host of television and radio support from BBC Northern Ireland. Standstill retains the mellow, home-grown quality perfected on those records albeit with some new found scope, inherently familiar whilst always remaining fresh and extrinsic.
Understated and refined Standstill doesn’t reveal all of its treasures at once, the songs augmented with tastefully layered instrumentation and playful, inconspicuous production. Unperturbed it plays out in no rush, possessing a relaxed, pastoral feel comparative to that of The Shins or Badly Drawn Boy’s finest work. With a crisp vision of beautifully arranged dynamic landscapes Mason excels, lending a clarity to which his vocal hooks are delivered with sweet sincerity. He floats over simple and compelling melodies, intricate instrumentation and whimsical, but never trite choruses with an ease bordering on ambivalence.
"The tunes are full of sweet patterns, reminders of Paul McCartney circa A Hard Day's Night or maybe Elliott Smith, playing it woefully true on Either/Or.” - Stuart Bailie, BBC Northern Ireland.
“Mason has a soft, sleepy voice which integrates well with the instrumentation providing the bedrock for him to express his vocals upon… with a nod towards Brendan Benson, the Flaming Lips, and Grandaddy.” – Subba-Cultcha