Unashamedly uncool, the members of MASK would no doubt feel surprised to discover they are our latest Indie Crush of the Week – but that they are. With their first album under their belt and their latest single just premiered on Louder Than War, a lot is happening quickly for these guys.
Their lead single, Celebrity, takes you rocking back to the 70s with its Mark Bolan-esque guitar riffs and raw vocals. But this kind of retro also sounds pretty contemporary, just think of bands such as the Black Keys and White Denim who have been bringing rock back-to-basics in recent years. There is a feeling of urgency to MASK’s music – you can hear it their rough vocal harmonies and their no-frills, vintage recording sound – but this is not surprising, considering they live miles apart for most of the year. Hailing variously from Belfast, Liverpool and Glasgow, when the band finally come together to play they overflow with music and energy.
Dig beneath their retro vibe, however, and you discover what distinguishes MASK as so relevant to our current age. Led by single dad, Dwayne, the band are not only musicians, but also all working parents. So its not surprising, perhaps, that beneath their hard sound their is an emotional honesty that sets their work apart. “Said I’ve got a story/ that I’m willing to tell,” opens their lead single, suggesting a confessional tone. Yet just as quickly this is undercut in the following line: “… at the right price, I’ll get you the rights.” Their album is full of this cynical humour, whether addressing the economic reality of the world or the joys of social media.
“We met as friends as early as 2004, we should have started a band then but never did”, lead-singer Dwayne reflects. With over 14 years of friendship between these guys, who have remained committed to their band and their music despite the difficulties of their geographical separation, expect to hear a lot more from these guys!