From Mars - 23 Hours

Bill Cummings 01/04/2005

Rating: 3/5

From Mars are an eccentric Newport based three piece who produce energetic alternative rock with more edgy musical twists and turns than the A470.This is their debut album, “23”, taking its name from the fact that it was recorded, mastered and released to listeners ears within 23 hours. It's quite a feat when you consider that this disk is better than the majority of welsh bands currently around could ever achieve given months in a studio.

Bursting into life with the energetic edgy noise of “Who is David David?” the riffs explode and the vocals are screamed with passion. Elsewhere “Disingenuous lullaby” is a punchy tight edged post punk stomper walking the unlikely tightrope between Mculsky and Bloc Party.

Meanwhile, the infectiously beautiful opening guitar lines in “Shot to Pieces” shift the gears of the album to another place, this is the sound of My Vitriol gone Welsh. It's a melancholic corker that really opens up its arms to the listener on the chorus.

Next up is “Piffle” and if ever there is to be a single released from this album this is it: tight riffing, passionate vocals, and a great stop start melodic structure the lines kind of summing up what reviewers will make of From Mars “cynics of the world unite/Trying to make sense of what we write.”

Some moments aren't quite as successful: “Dysophoria”, with its DIY sound and vocal, ends up sounding like the rotten bastard child of the Pixies. But again they turn it round with the quirky sound of “International hit woman” so gloriously ragged and rocking that only a fool wouldn't see its class delicately balanced between power and melody: this is highly enjoyable stuff. Next up comes another U-turn (Fantastic boat on a sea of )Piss” aside from the amusing lyrics sample: “ Swim fucker Swim!” is a Gang of four style funk punk monster. Last up are “Perfect” with its traditional rock sound: and the epic nine minute rock of “Both Killer and the victim” starting sparse and slow it explodes into life with wide screen power replete with Frank Black style vocals, furious riffing, and drum rolls - it's the sound of late night Newport.

There we have it. 23 is a tightly packed, energetic rock album bursting at the seems with ideas, wit and powerful melodic potential. One cautious note; at times From Mars seem to have so many ideas that their sound isn't as focussed and the vocals aren't as good as they could be. Overall a good debut made even better by the fact that you just don't hear alternative rock of this quality in Wales as much anymore. In Wales From Mars are musically from another planet.