Mars Red Sky – Mars Red Sky

What do psychedelic pop, stoner and fuzz have in common? You wouldn’t think much, but stop for a moment and get your full attention here. There is something that wraps these three subgenres under the same flag. This something is a Bordeaux, France based trio called Mars Red Sky.

Totalling less than 40 minutes, this debut self titled achievement is a record that forces you to keep it in a repeat mode, in a nice way. Dominant in that mellow / nice way, it seems to be stoned and fuzzy only when there is even a little opportunity for it. The guitarist and singer  Julien Pras is known also as the founder of Calc, and the melodiousness which rays off from his voice tags the album as an absolutely quality release.

But, to not forget the other elements which shape the album’s entity, both Jimmy Kinast on bass and Benoit Busser on drums show a knowing look. Kinast’s loud basslines together with Julien’s guitar fuzz and Busser’s hypnotizing drumming are another highlight of Mars Red Sky. The hybrid of Todd Trainer and John Bonham behind the drumkit accompanied by Hendrix’s fuzz and Iommi/Page signature guitar sound with a slight retrospective view on Dead Meadow’s Jason Simon – and you get the clue of how Mars Red Sky sounds. That’s just a short thread of MRS presentation and certainly goes far beyond the aforementioned references.

Opening with Strong Reflection, Mars Red Sky takes the pace which is followed down by the album’s end. The amplified sound of the bass followed with mid-greasy riffs and Pras’ (I could say easily) authentic voice herald that we are maybe dealing with one of the 2011′s best newcoming releases. The bass on the album is not only doing its original role being a sibling of the drums, but also works as the extended hand of the guitar.

Up next is Curse, which opens with Busser’s sharp hits increasing the tempo after starting Strong Reflection. Pras keeps his voice in a warm high register all the time. The track ends with a wind effect which keeps going at the beginning of the upcoming Falls, reminiscent of Robin Trower’s Bridge of Sighs in Opeth’s performance.  I don’t know how did I come to the point of linking these two pieces, but first minute of Mars’ song makes me feel that way. It’s an instrumental (except a scream that appears in the second part) and fuzz is its bearer.

Way to Rome comes up with a southern stoned out feel, maybe because of Bordeaux’s geoposition and landscape, but other than that it’s a chop filled with groovy riffballs and, you guess, Pras’ high pitched voice. Together with Strong Reflection, this song forms the album’s spine.

Saddle Point feels like a symphonic piece with acoustic guitar taking the lead, at some moments it throws in the expectation for string instruments swim in. Yes, it’s another instrumental on the record.

Droning at the beginning of Marble Sky is not what was expected, but shows that guys do not scare of experimenting then where there’s a chance. And they know how to grab and use it. Comparing to previous songs, this particular piece brings a newness in the album’s structure. Julian’s vocals are more down to the ground, filled with bluesy smack just like the guitar solo.

Obviously with Saddle Point the band made a shift and therefore brought a sudden change to the album’s flow. The last two tracks are by SOME elements different from the other songs, but this difference is just a “strong reflection“ of the band’s freedom to perform the explorations within the subgenres.

And all this comes from a winter night in 2007, when Julian and Jimmy met in a tiny club in Bordeaux.


01. Strong Reflection
02. Curse
03. Falls
04. Way to Rome
05. Saddle Point
06. Marble Sky
07. Up the Stairs


* Julian Pras – vocals, guitar
* Jimmy Kinast – vocals, bass
* Benoit Busser – drums


Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.

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