Willy Mason - Where The Humans Eat
Benjamin Short 16/12/2005
For those of us who are looking for a zeitgeist bandwagon to jump on, perhaps something a little different to the NME holy trinity of Casablancas/Doherty/Kapranos, your opportunity has arrived. The story itself is already the stuff of rock folklore: No-mark American teenager records music in his family home, with his brother taking on production duties. Wins support from both MTV and Bright Eyes' Connor Oberst. Now all that remains is for Willy Mason to earn the commercial success that he so obviously deserves.
'Still a Fly' is remarkable for its childish innocence ("you shouldn't read Dostoyevsky at your age"), whilst the album's title track features perhaps the most prominent xylophone in popular music since Radiohead's 'No Surprises'.
'So Long' is a paean to miserable students everywhere. It is also conclusive proof that the spirit of Johnny Cash Lives on. Elsewhere, 'Our Town' takes a bitchy lyrical sideswipe at the American backwaters from which Mason emerged, with lines such as "don't try to fight / 'cause we know that we're right / in our town".
'Oxygen' is one of those rare songs that is truly deserving of instant classic status. A lonely acoustic guitar provides the backdrop for the ramshackle beauty of Mason's voice, and his trademark witty lyrics. (I wanna speak louder than Ritalin for all the children who think that they've got a disease") It is the outstanding highlight in a record with many highlights.
In a just world, this record would win universal acclaim, and propel its author to fame and fortune. However, the recent re-election of George W. Bush proved once and for all that the world is unjust, and as such, 'Where the Humans Eat' is destined to the same legendary cult status as Jeff Buckley's 'Grace'