Willy Mason

If the Ocean Gets Rough (Astralwerks)

Phases & Stages

Willy Mason

If the Ocean Gets Rough (Astralwerks)

Today's young artists face the combined challenge of breathing life into established genres while also having something fresh to say. Twenty-two-year-old Willy Mason is one such relative newcomer. He's drawn comparisons to Bright Eyes and Beth Orton and has become something of a phenom in the UK. After several EPs and two LPs, the Massachusetts resident still needs a bit more seasoning. With its fuller sound, If the Ocean Gets Rough is an upgrade from Mason's previously stark work, and he remains a top-notch melody maker; tunes like "Gotta Keep Walking," "Save Myself," and "Riptide" are sing-alongs in no time. Mason displays promise, but with limited range vocally and echoes of Ben Harper, Los Lobos, and John Hiatt in his song-craft, he hasn't hit one squarely out of the park yet.

***

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