Monday, 31 March 2014

MARS RED SKY - Stranded In Arcadia - Album Review

Mars Red Sky
Stranded In Arcadia
Listenable Records
28th April 2014 (EU) / 10th June 2014 (USA)

The band:

Julien Praz - vocals, guitar
Jimmy Kinast - bass guitar, vocals
Matgaz - drums

The songs:

1. The Light Beyond 8:04
2. Hovering Satellites 5:35
3. Holy Mondays 4:54
4. Join The Race 5:19
5. Arcadia 5:57
6. Circles 4:59
7. Seen A Ghost 7:17
8. Beyond The Light 2:34

France's Mars Red Sky approaches me differently than most albums does. Usually I dig it immediately, or I hear potential and keep listening while it grows on me or I don't like it, simple as that. 'Stranded In Arcadia' is a release I love from the get-go but it's a grower and a shape-shifter. Every time I put it on it's obviously them but a new angle has been brought to the table and this constant change within their own boundaries is extremely appealing to me. So when this Bordeaux-trio embrace me with their mix of desert rock, psych, groove and 60's rock they are heading for unchartered territory.

Slow and meandering 'The Light Beyond' is an elegant opener with a take-off feel to it. The pounding, rolling drums courtset of Matgaz is the jet engine while Jimmy's the thumping, deep bass guitar is the gas pedal and Julien's spaced out guitar playing and most distinct vocals act as the pilot. 'Hovering Satellites' picks up the pace piledrivering through asteroid fields expertly avoiding devastating crashes. Again, Julien's perculiar voice mesmerizes me as it does throughout the entire album. There's a strong resemblance to Snake from Voivod but maybe it's just the French connection that brings this out, I don't know. However, his voice is perfect for the band adding a lot to the dreamy, psychedelic stances. Retaining the faster aspects of their sound, 'Holy Mondays' is heavily influenced by the 60's especially in the song structure that is until the song really kicks in. Then organs and Kyuss enters the fold spicing things up and this unholy mix really comes to the fore in the choruses. 'Join The Race' is a different beast all together. Slow, fuzzed out for the most part while Julien's voice is almost sacral. All of a sudden everything changes when the choruses takes over. Beatles-esque harmonies floats over the music only to be over within a few seconds. King's X comes to mind as well.

Mars Red Sky takes us out into other galaxies on the instrumental 'Arcadia'. Trippy and spacey doesn't do this excellent song justice but the words fail me. Instead, listen and let yourself be embraced by this beautiful piece. A shroom trip if there ever was one! Upping the ante, 'Circles' stay trippy but more rockier as well. Almost sludgy in parts 'Seen A Ghost' brings hints of Voivod and King's X with the music pulsing and vibrating sending chills through my body. The journey is drawing to a close as we finally enter new undiscovered galaxies and 'Beyond The Light' is the perfect soundtrack as we venture off into unknown territories. Trippy beyond words this instrumental releases all the ballast our space rocket carries and drifts away..........

By the way, check out the word play within the song titles. 'Stranded In Arcadia' starts with 'The Light Beyond' and ends with 'Beyond The Light'. Ties it up real good doesn't? Personally I love such things but then again I'm an anorak, alright! So let's focus on the music again. Totally unknown to me until the album dropped down in my mailbox Mars Red Sky is a band I need to investigate and explore. As damned fantastic as 'Stranded In Arcadia' is I can only imagine what their previous releases sound like. So what are you waiting for? Grab a copy or ten of this amazing album and set off out into outer space, you hear!!

Written by Håkan Nyman

Thanks to Claire at Purple Sage PR for sending us a promo to review. Stranded In Arcadia will be available to buy from Listenable Records on CD/DD/Vinyl from April 28th 2014 in Europe and June 10th 2014 in USA.

Check The Band From Links below: