Masque

The Mission

Mercury UK, 1992

http://http://www.themissionuk.com

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/08/2019

Masque is what you’d call the mother of all eclectic records. It adopts various music styles and moods to create an end product that is as intriguing as is fascinating. It is amazing how a band of just three musicians can create an album of such variegated styles and grandiosity.

This album is anything but simplistically styled. It is all about song structures and interesting embellishments that are clever and well executed.

Things start off with a very interesting intro to the first track “Never Again” with the sounds of mooing cows and waterfalls that build up to this heavily guitar-driven song with a techno-beat. It is also laden with a gothic orchestral arrangement in the background, to the extent that it is difficult to focus on the song with so many things happening to it. Still, it grows on you with further listens and ends up as an album standout.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Shades Of Green (Part 2),” “Even You May Shine,” and “Trail Of Scarlet” are the remaining tracks that complete ‘dance-rock’ section of this disc, which has a rather fairy-tale like feel throughout. The record then drastically mellows down, with the second half taking more laidback and psychedelic forms.

The second half of Masque is completely at odds with the first one. The layered guitars are taken over by exuberant and experimental violin strings, saxophones, and keyboards, while the ‘fairy-tale’ aura still maintained. The beautifully crafted second half starts off with the effusively Middle Eastern-influenced “Sticks And Stones” (driven by a single violin let loose) and ends off with the touchy and unusually danceable “Until There’s Another Sunrise,” featuring a subtly pleasant sax-solo. This marked contrast between the first and second halves of the album makes it rather incoherent for sure.    

By no means is Masque a conventional record, as it has too many styles mixed together. The overindulgent nature of the album makes it a difficult one to digest. But it is also worth mentioning the fact that Wayne Hussey, Craig Adams, and Mick Brown make the complexities and lavishness seem facile and natural. This is a fairytale, which passes through many twists and turns, each as interesting and entertaining as the other. Yes, this record is widely unknown and under-appreciated. However, it is sure to be a prized possession for those who few who truly understand the magic behind its madness.

Rating: A-

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