The words conjure images of David Bowie wearing silver pants and elevator moon boots while strutting across an acrylic stage and singing about characters with monikers like “Major Tom” and “Ziggy Stardust“. If this is what you might be expecting from the polished and primed foursome called 30SECONDSTOMARS, you're generally on the right track, but your planetary alignment is a few decibels off. You see, this is not your Mom's brand of “space rock”. This is the year 2002. It's much louder and fiercer these days.
The self-titled debut from 30SECONDSTOMARS comes to us as a bit of a package deal. Imagine, if you will, embracing the idea of a 70's concept album that takes shape in the present. Although Pink Floyd and Rush were at the top of their game when it came to concept albums (think Dark Side of the Moon or 2112 for you old schoolers out there) it's been a while since we've seen something this seamless. While it's not unique to the band, the conceptual route is definitely a refreshing trip that hasn't been taken in a while. Everything feels very streamlined. It is apparent that there was a lot of thought put into this release, and it is appreciated. From the disc packaging to the merchandising to the name of the band to the metaphoric lyrical content of the songs – it all tells a story to the listener, while still remaining wide open to interpretation.
The songs are immediately captivating, powerful, impressive. You embark on a dynamic collision course throughout the minds of the band and walk with them through the many atmospheric moods that the music creates. “Capricorn“, the single that is the first blow to any doubts one might have about a band with an actor as a front man, will ensnare your senses. It's as if sliding the disc into your player is like strapping yourself in for the ride. As soon as this track winds up and begins, you're ready for take off. This is a collection of songs that you feel.
Matt Watcher's standout bass lines are deep and foreboding and tend to get you in the gut. The guitars played masterfully by Solon Bixler and Jared Leto are powerful and brash and tend to effortlessly wind their way through each sinewy layer of the songs. Leto's crystal clear, sonically astounding vocals echo some of today's greatest talents yet still give us a fresh sound at the same time, while the ever present pop and pound of Shannon Leto's drums, combined with the spark and crackle of synth and electronics are just icing on the cake.
True music fans who might not necessarily be into newer, heavier sounds will still enjoy 30SECONDSTOMARS because they are a band with heart, not just excellent production value, although the work of Bob Ezrin and Brian Virtue (Jane's Addiction) are certainly nothing to be ignored. 30SECONDSTOMARS are not about image. In fact, the band give the lasting impression that they are the antithesis of image. They truly feel their music and that comes across not only on the disc, but in their live performances as well. There are songs that reveal the feelings of desperation, solitude, helplessness, and abandonment. Tracks like “93 Million Miles“, “Oblivion“, and “Echelon” are those that haunt you for days and weeks after listening.
30SECONDSTOMARS are the real deal. Don't miss your opportunity to further the mission. Listen for yourself and thank me later.
– lesa at unearthed dot com