Comes with a Smile # reviews
issues | the songs | interviews | reviews | images | web exclusives | top 10 | history | search

cwas#13 / cwas#12 / cwas#11 / cwas#9 / cwas#8 / cwas#7
cwas#6 / cwas#4 / all reviews / search

Ray Mason Band | When the Clown's Work is Over (Captivating Music)
Massachusetts stalwart Ray Mason has been fronting his own band since 1982, with a finger in local musical pies that reach much further back. It's perhaps no wonder, then, that the roots-pop of When the Clown's Work is Over sounds sometimes like its heart belongs in a previous generation, with its head stuck in the sand of the early seventies. If Ray Mason's time spent circling the local scene is a testimony to his dogged dedication, it also lends credence to the war of integrity that pervades the lyrics here. "All the trendy bands are going to wind up as glue," he assures us in Tom Petty tones on the stomping Got It Right. Elsewhere declaring, "I'll just fix another sink and take another fee / you don't need a big label sniffing 'round / took years to get a sound." Cut Out on a Mirror of Lies is a raw, descending acoustic strum, while Harold's Been Feeling Down recalls George Harrison and only confirms Mason's way with a tune. Featuring Stephen Desaulniers and Tom Shea, ex-Scud Mountain Boys both, WTCWIO is a likeable album of pop-rock professionalism, but one that stops short of eliciting the passion that Mason obviously has no shortage of.

Martin Williams
CWAS #7 - Spring 2001