Bristol ‘dream pop’ rockers Saint Mars have set out to tackle the nightmarish subject of childhood bullying in this, the prelude to their forthcoming debut LP Celesteville.
As you might expect, this is not a four-track collection of summer anthems, but it’s also not a melancholic dirge either.
Title track ‘Ocean Blues’, with it’s driving rhythms, is an ethereal uplifter and with lead singer Marc Darcange’s euro vocal it strongly recalls the hauntingly beautiful soundtrack to Nordic noir drama The Bridge: ’Hollow Talk’ by the Choir of Young Believers.
The piano and disco-beat drum combo of ‘A Love Impossible’ is also très euro pop – much more south of France than south-west England.
‘Boys Never Cry’ – that old adage about the male bravado – though has more classical overtones and a rousing, anthemic quality to the title refrain.
I did a double take on EP closer ‘Broken Prophecy’ at the sound of the lyric “Chinese Democracy” which suddenly gave me a flashback to the infamous Guns N’ Roses album.
That’s as far as the GNR connection goes however as the track itself has a very 80s/90s pop/Manic Street Preachers feel with some crunching rock guitars provided by Massive Attack axeman Angelo Bruschini, who lends his talents to the EP alongside fellow Blue Aeroplanes man John Langley and Transposer’s Nathaniel Shelley.
After this intriguing and stylishly produced appetiser, I look forward to hearing how they combine on the main course later this year.
Ocean Blues is out now on Grá Mór Phonic Records.
11 is louder than 10 verdict
11 – Sonic boom
10 – Planet rock
9 – Headbanging
8 – Turn it up
7 – Rocking
6 – Foot tapping
5 – Worth a listen
4 – Background music
3 – Turn it down
2 – Earache
1 – Turn it off
0 – Ear bleeding
In association with Independent Music Promotions.