Mars Red Sky, Dead Feathers, Bionic Cavemen, Fever Feel | Reggie's Music Joint | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Mars Red Sky

Mars Red Sky

Alpha Omega Management

Mars Red Sky, Dead Feathers, Bionic Cavemen, Fever Feel 

When: Sat., Aug. 27, 8 p.m. 2016
Price: $12, $10 in advance
Does it make sense to call a doom band “twee”? Well, everything’s relative when it comes to taste, and to my ears, Mars Red Sky are twee—in this context, I don’t even mean it as a pejorative. On their third full-length, Apex III (Praise for the Burning Soul), released in March by Listenable Records, this stoner-metal trio from Bordeaux, France, load their swirling psychedelic grooves with playful contrasts—you could consider it a reminder that drug experiences are supposed to be fun. The rhythms combine light-footed swing with bludgeoning stomps, while the riffs adorn their volcanic drones with baroque flourishes of spangled, gleaming guitar effects. The reedy, slightly nasal singing carries melodies that often feel as whimsical as anything the Beatles did at their most indulgent, albeit generally a bit campier and spookier (and I doubt these guys have ever worn candy-colored marching-band uniforms). The vocal harmonies can sound downright sunny, and when the guitars are doing their best impression of a coal-slurry flood, this makes for a pleasantly goofy (and sometimes thrillingly odd) juxtaposition. In “Under the Hood” a shuffling hi-hat lends a jaunty bustle to a growling biker-badass riff, while the catchy vocal hook feels bittersweet and faraway. The bumping verses of “Friendly Fire,” which tick-tock in nursery-rhyme triple time, bloom into beautiful, soaring choruses slathered in buzzing, kaleidoscopic distortion. I’m not sure what the hell these guys think they’re doing, but I’m not complaining.
— Philip Montoro



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