Ride the Manta Ray Toward the Crimson Eye.
Almost two years after the release of their second effort, Mars Red Sky is back with an EP that is set to make the transition between Stranded In Arcadia and the third album to come, APEX III (Praise For The Burning Soul). Providence consists of three tracks, the first one is the main single and the other two are respectively an extract from a live performance and a rather daring composition which is easily one of my all-time favourite from this band.
How is the sound ?
Shot In Providence is a straight up Mars Red Sky song, their fuzzy sound is instantly recognizable and as always, the clear/high pitch vocals and the heavy duo of the bass and drums complement each others very well. The track is a bit darker and gloomier than what they used to play, yet still with this spiraling sound that takes you deeper and deeper into their psychedelic trip up until the rhythm section speeds things up and the guitar looses itself in a short but efficient solo.
Providence’s B-side is where things get really interesting. Don’t get me wrong, Shot In Providence is a very good song but Homesick Deaf and Sapphire Vessel are my favorites because they show the experimental side of the band, they display something that they seemed only to hint at but never truly took the time to develop and explore. I’m glad they decided to take a shot at the exercise with this EP because it’s wonderful, especially because those two songs wander in two different directions in the Mars Red Sky universe. It opens up so many possibilities in terms of sonic experience for their future that it’s really exciting.
Homesick Deaf is an extract of a live performance delivered for the release party of their second album, Stranded in Arcadia, in their hometown, Bordeaux. Julia Al Abed created the acousmatic and field recordings and the band played their own music as an experimental video was projected on a big screen. I strongly encourage you to watch it as the music is meant to go with the video. Regarding the song, it consists of ambient sounds mixed with samples of birds, ocean sounds, whales, children laugh, voices and sirens. The guitar, bass and drums only come later and strongly emphasize the psychedelic and immersive quality and the ambiance slowly expanding before our ears.
Sapphire Vessel is the third and last song of the EP and man, how great this track is! As stated before, this is a bit different from what they are used to do. The song is not that long, it barely hits the seven minutes mark as most of their songs. The real change is to be found in the structure of the track as it only goes onward right from the start. The beginning is a bit eerie, a sense of doom floats around as Julien Pras, the guitarist and vocalist, delivers his cryptic lyrics with gloomy vocals. That said, the last bit of his short verse encapsulates perfectly the rest of the song: “Our vessel gliding in burning skies“, because things will only get better and brighter.
A piano and an acoustic guitar discretely appear out of the ambient noise and slowly gain momentum up until the choir makes its way in the dance between the two instruments and lights everything up. But there is no explosion, no huge breakout, everything unravels itself in the most peaceful way. I can’t help but feel happy and relaxed when I listen to this build up. It’s utterly beautiful, I love this Pink Floyd vibe that goes throughout the song. The choir really brings a sense of absolution, it’s like riding an elevator that goes straight to the higher spheres of existence. It brings a sense of fulfillment and happiness and it is the perfect song to end this EP and open the new chapter of the group, leading us to the next album to come.
Why is this album worth listening?
- It is a great way to prepare yourself for the next album.
- Listening to Mars Red Sky exploring their experimental side is a delightful treat.
Something particular to note?
- The new album APEX III (Praise For The Burning Soul) will be out February 29th on Listenable records. You can pre-order it on their website.
For Fans Of
Dead Meadow, Sungrazer, Naam
If you don't know what those "Levels" mean, please visit this page.