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Album: Steve Mason, Monkey Minds in the Devil's Time (Double Six)

On paper, the ex-Beta Band man's latest pushes his eclectic impulse ad absurdum: think samples of Dante's Inferno, F1 racing and Tony Blair, raps about the riots alongside torch songs, and genre exercises from country to baggy.

But it's testament to his songcraft that it feels all of a piece: shuffling of gait and rich of melody, with personal and political upsets seamlessly elided. Throw in that lovely, drifting croon, and it's his finest hour yet.