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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Album Review: Mars Red Sky – Apex III (Praise For The Burning Soul)

There’s no doubt that Mars Red Sky write music for themselves alone. What other reason would they have for gathering all their eggs into one basket time after time. Each new track seems to come pre-loaded with the same familial qualities – that familial, otherworldly, psychedelic backline, overdriven buzzing bottom end, laconic multi-tracked vocal delivery and crunchy riffwork. However, here on Apex III, they have wrapped it all around a truly alien theme that dines out on a creepy, pervading sense of drama and a thoroughly dark tone.

There’s real tonal value in the amalgamated scene-setting introduction “(alien grounds)” and dark backstory of the title-track but, sitting proudly up top and riding on a single repeating riff that incessantly bores its way into your skull as it does, might irk a few into tuning out right there. I do urge you to persevere past that initial anomaly, however, because the Floydian wash and Hawkwind-esque crush soon envelops as tracks like “The Whinery”, “Mindreader” and “Prodigal Son” will undoubtedly attest to.

“Under The Hood” is the star track with a lush, bluesy underscore that gently sways around the ultra-light vocal arpeggios. There’s a sweet lyrical hook in there that draws you up and out of the misty surrounds – “those emerald eyes of yours” have a lot to answer for. On the flipside, the summery 60s vibe that characterises “Friendly Fires” struggles to make any impact and actually seems to work at odds to the vocal styling. Rather, the multiple-tracking and effects overwhelm and hide the upbeat melody.

Whereas 2014’s Stranded In Arcadia had a nagging inclination for analagous tracks, this takes that quality to a whole new level. Identifying where you are in the sonic wash of colours will require a tracklist to hand and an ability for deep concentration. But perhaps to do so would be missing the point. The tracks are, after all, merely subtle shifts in sound that exist across a single piece of art. Yes, perhaps less dead air and gentler segues might have assisted this thought process. It certainly feels like an album that requires a solitary journey. One of those that will give you a chance to curl up to, shut your eyes and ride on through the storm.



Also online @ Ave Noctum = http://www.avenoctum.com/2016/02/mars-red-sky-apex-iii-listenable/
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