From Mars aren’t actually from Mars, they’re from Newport, South Wales – the home of faintly amusing Argos-hop goons, Goldie Lookin’ Chain. However, their muscular post-punk could as easily be from New York as from Newport. If Bloc Party actually held a block party, it’s highly plausible that From Mars would be their musical guests. Opening track ‘Who Is David David?’ is awesome, jittery alt.pop, and the rest of the album rattles between spooked-out Pixies stomps, dark Franz Ferdinand disco/not-disco romps and more unhurried fare like final track, the brooding epic ‘Both Killer and Victim’.
On ‘Piffle’ they sing “critics of the world unite/trying to find sense in what we write”, and the possible influences come to mind thick and fast. ‘Shot 2 Pieces’ echoes Magazine in title and tone, and if other bands spent less time reading magazines, and more time listening to Magazine they could be as good as From Mars. The album contains more hooks than a meat-locker, and my favourite track is the fantastically twitchy ‘Disingenuous Lullaby’, which is surreal yet utterly radio-worthy.
Just for the record, the album was recorded, produced, mastered, released and available to listeners within 23 hours! – hence the album title. (See http://www.23hours.info) Gimmick, maybe, but it grabbed my attention, and the music is better than it has any right to be. Overall, in terms of reference-points, I think it’s fair to say that the album has a more ragged sound akin to Bleach; but don’t bet against them making their own Nevermind one of these days. Big potential. Definitely one-to-watch.
PS. If you’re unconvinced, the first 1000 copies of the album have been sponsored by the Meze Lounge in Newport, with all proceeds going towards the Tsunami Appeal.