CD review The Mastersons – Birds Fly South
Birds Fly South
The oft-used phrase, “the whole has greater value than the sum of its parts” aptly applies to journeyman side players and actual husband and wife duo The Mastersons and their strong debut album Birds Fly South. Each has a fine voice and great instrumental skills: Chris Masterson with his nerdy everyman vocals and chunky retro guitar, and Eleanor with her lilting soprano, akin to Emmylou Harris, and multi-stringed instrumental chops that include violin, mandolin and guitars. When they join together and sing as one voice, then they truly shine.
The Brooklyn-based pair recorded the 11-song set of quirky alt country pop songs upon returning to their roots in Austin, Texas, and after surrounding themselves with friends. The result is a relaxed album full of fat lo fi multi-textured sounds and one-of-a-kind performances.
Each song has a fresh, yet familiar to it, including standout tracks like the clever poppy love song “Crash Test” and the biting tongue-in-cheek rebuke of “Money.” Special note must be given to the sweet pedal steel of Mike Hardwick on the ode to reconciliation “One More Word.” The album’s title track and closer must have been a rejuvenating experience for the Mastersons, who no doubt have found the keys to successful partnership in life, love, and art.
Originally appeared in Innocent Words July2012
Rick J Bowen