As the leaves change and that bastard Old Man Winter looms, it seems a contradictory time for Dumb Angel’s new album, Eight Moments of Spring. Though on the other hand, maybe an album of dulcet spring secular hymnals is exactly what we need to get through the harsh Canadian winter without blowing our brains out.
Dumb Angel is the stage name of Shaun Mason, a Montreal transplant originally from Saskatoon, very active on the scene here years ago, playing with bands like Blood Music. Eight Moments of Spring continues his psychedelic folk sound, channeling influences like Nick Drake, Bert Jansch, and Red House Painters. But this effort also finds Mason achieving a new level of polish, both to his songs and the production itself. For starters, his gentle, hushed vocal delivery is supplemented by big Spiritualized choruses. It is still soft and calm enough to coax a shy forest deer to approach it, but now it’s backed with convincing harmonies.
This third Dumb Angel effort also supports the addition of piano, drums, and bass, which adds to the atmosphere of his pastoral acoustic guitar playing, without stepping on it. A few of the songs pass the seven-minute mark, growing their hypnotic groove like a slowly rising spring flower. The Dumb Angel we know and love has gone from the bedroom to centre stage, and in fact, the record was cut with Jase Lasek of The Besnard Lakes in a proper studio effort.
The album is deceptively simple, yet profound; Mason brings us to the core of who he is with his lyrics, but also shows us how much we’re all alike as humans in what we feel, and how we see the world. The album celebrates and bemoans love, loss, friendship, and our regrets through the cursed passing of time.
Dumb Angel was always good --- but he’s really found his moment in time, well, eight of them really, with this album. It’s not only one of the best recent albums of its kind, but also one of the best albums I’ve heard this year. It will carry us during those weak, maddening moments of winter, chaperoning us through to the spring.
CFCR Board Member
Record DetailsReleased: 2012
Record Label: Self-Released