Black Affair – Pleasure Pressure Point (2008)
For those young pups reading this review, I’d like to bring your attention to a late nineties group that gave music a fresh outlook. This group was called The Beta Band and they were way ahead of their time. They mashed hip hop, folk, psychedelic and dub into a heady stew and, man, they were mind blowing. Soon every band from Radiohead to erm… Embrace went through a Beta Band phase, and who could blame them? With such a rich musical palette, bands were bound to imitate in some way or another.
Sadly over the course of three albums The Beta Band weren’t able to maintain the standard they set on their early e.p.’s and by 2004 the quartet split and pursued solo careers.
Now the interesting bit
Three of the members (along with a former member who quit during the early days due to health reasons) formed the psychedelic group, The Aliens and Steve Mason, the ex lead singer released solo albums under his King Biscuit Time moniker and last year he killed that off and reinvented himself as Black Affair.
Now that we have gotten the Wikipedia article out of the way, lets delve deeper.
As Black Affair, Mason pillages his past. On ‘Pleasure Pressure Point’ there are elements of early hip hop, 80’s synth artists such as Gary Numan and Depeche Mode and inevitably the more electronic leanings of Mason’s former band. It’s also worth noting that Warp artist Jimmy Edgar mixed and collaborated with Mason and P.P.P. has Edgar’s trademark squelchy sleazy beats.
What makes this unique is that Black Affair has succeeded in creating a very fun album that is aimed for dancefloor frenzy and yet he has managed to take the music to another level by writing about failed relationships in the process.
Yes you read correctly.
Gone are the days where Mason would sing about wizards and mumbo jumbo, although to be fair he has written quite a few songs about love, but never has been as introspective as this. Ironically it’s the most exuberant sounding song , ‘It’s Real’ in this batch that has an acerbic quality. It will be quite fun to see people freaking out to this track without being fully conscious about what it’s about.
On the whole, an album like this is a sign that Mason is able to manipulate genres and come up with the goods, be it folk , hip hop or electro and he will give you something to make you move and think at the same time. What his next move will be is anybody’s guess but one can guarantee that it will be always worth checking out.