From Mars - EP

Bill Cummings 26/06/2006

Rating: 4/5

A year on from their brilliantly promising but at times rough around the edges debut album 23 hours (recorded in twenty three hours, hence the title) Newport's frommars return with a new self released EP Moving from a three piece to a four piece has really benefited this fledgling alt-rock prospect, where once their dynamics were at times shaky, they are now taught, polished and powerful.

On opener '1st Of May', squalling shards of guitars stream into view like a spinning comet across the calm night sky, vaguely reminiscent of the best moments of My Vitriol: there's the edgy vocals that anxiously stretch to the point of breaking, built upon the foundations of the insistently brutal rhythm that only stops for breath in the delightful pre-chorus. With a chorus that sounds like the Pixies plugged into a hundred Marshall amps and a superb cascade of harmonic post-hardcore riffage at the end, it's clear frommars mean business.

'More Land to Build Houses On' is even better. Like At the Drive-In being throttled around the throat, this is dynamic, uncompromising alt-rock that never takes a backwards step, lyrical snapshots investing each vocal line with a sense of desperation. What's so impressive is that frommars never fall into the track that so many post hardcore bands do, their vocals actually have a purpose, rather than bluster and clich├ęd generic vocal lines, their disparate emotional splurges are full of spite, uncertainty and aggression.

It's to frommars' credit that they are able to switch things up again for the last Track 'Fallout' that begins like a early strumming Ash track before unveiling itself into a superbly twitchy Gang of Four-with-teeth style chorus. The vocal sparring here is quite sublime, shards of static bouncing around the walls of a song that runs up peaks before falling off the edge of the melodic cliff.

This EP is really promising, previously frommars showed promise but at times where unable to back it up, here they've regrouped, added a member and kicked themselves into gear to produced some of the best Welsh alt-rock music I've heard since Mclusky.