Follow Us on Twitter

King Biscuit Time - Black Gold

King Biscuit Time, Black Gold

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

JUST when it seemed Beta Band fans were beginning to look forward to Steve Mason’s latest project, King Biscuit Time, news filtered through that they too may have split.

The arrival of their debut album, Black Gold, is therefore something of a mixed blessing – a great piece of music that merely hints at what might have been.

Mason’s distinct vocals coupled with his ear for a terrific beat and/or melody are the main reasons for buying it even if fans may feel a little cheated by King Biscuit Time’s rapid demise.

The album kicks off with the politically charged dancehall of C I AM 15 which emerged as a single last year, before settling into more familiar territory that’s dripping in the beautiful melancholia that’s been evident in all of his music.

Tracks like All Over You contain a haunting quality that’s accentuated by Mason’s echoed vocals. It’s a stripped down effort built around a simple guitar riff and a low-key beat that solemnly states ‘I only loved you for a little while’.

Rising Son, meanwhile, drops some delicious boy-girl vocals that are layered to perfection against a cascading guitar riff and another restrained beat. It manages to be happy and sad at the same time.

In complete contrast, however, are the likes of Metalbiscuit, a slice of kraut-rock autobahn music that’s fuelled by the sort of energetic, emotive stabs of synthesizer that Miami Vice’s Jan Hammer might have been proud of in the mid-80s.

And the recent (and possibly final) single Kwangchow which offers a Beta Band throwback that’s sure to be the envy of many fans. It’s a piece of jangling pop art that capably demonstrates Mason’s exemplary talent that sits well alongside the similarly warm glow of Impossible Ride, a slow-builder that effortlessly enchants the listener.

Indeed, the more times you listen to Black Gold, the more disappointed you may become at King Biscuit Time’s disappearance. With the Beta Band also consigned to memory, fans of leftfield indie pop at its best have been deprived of a very rich talent.

It remains to be seen what direction Mr Mason takes now…

Track listing:

  1. C I Am 15
  2. Izzum
  3. Impossible Ride
  4. Kwangchow
  5. Lefteye
  6. All Over You
  7. Way You Walk
  8. Paperhead
  9. Rising Son
  10. Metal Biscuit