Speed the Plough

Mason's Box

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Over a longer period of time, the sonic development of Speed the Plough tends to mirror that of the Feelies, a related (through bassist Brenda Sauter) and relatively similar project. Mason's Box covers the same ground as the Feelies' Only Life -- there's the usual combination of dark and evocative rock with steady rhythms and warm textures, but here, they're written and produced with an eye for pop slickness that occasionally bogs them down and sacrifices the intimate idiosyncracies of earlier work. There's a definite serenity to Mason's Box, and enough good songwriting and effective touches of keys and mandolin to make it fairly interesting, but like the Feelies and a lot of other rock bands, it's Speed the Plough's first few recordings (their self-titled album in particular) that offer something truly idiosyncratic and appealing.

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