Mars - Mars Lp
Mars was one of those NYC No-Wave bands that helped take apart punk, give it an angular, kinda sleazy
intellectual vibe, and pave the way for genres like New Wave and shoegazing that were much worse
than the original intention. Here, though, we can listen in on those heady days when everything seemed
possible and the only people who werent in bands were those too afraid to pick up an instrument.
Everything was possible, and all for the low low price of two chords!
Though the band made a significant appearance on Brian Eno's seminal "No Wave New York"
compilation, Mars didn't make much of dent before their demise."Mars" collects their complete studio
recordings from 1977-78, eleven tracks of atonal goodness that all sound as if they are about to
disintegrate into either noise or irrelevance. Yet, to their credit, for at best rudimentary musicians,
they did know when to end a tune, as well as to sense a moment when something interesting was
happening, and to let it happen. That deliberate trainwreck makes "11,000 Volts" and "3E" burst with
Velvets-esque tension. On all the tracks, especially on "Puerto-Rican Ghost," the dark, obnoxiously
droning bass of Mark Cunningham is the musical hero. The vocals tend to be screaming or whispered,
and either grate or distract from the music. Guitarist Sumner Crane's lyrics are psychotic haikus,
which suits the tunes just fine.
For a band that allegedly first picked up instruments only at their initial rehearsal, Mars cover a lot of
sonic ground, from Ubu-esque skronk to noise to ponderous art-jams. "Mars LP is a period piece, yes,but it also holds up really well, as do its DIY ideals, which we all need to reminded of especially today.
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