Mars
Mars LP - The Complete Studio Recordings NYC 1977-1978

[No More Records, www.nomorerecords.com]

To understand no-wave, one has to be put into a certain mindset of those who lived in NYC during the mid to late 70's. Punk was emerging in a big way, but those who found the "no-wave" religion found it in part due to disillusionment with music in general as an art-form. Many of the people were not professional or trained musicians to say the least. When you listen to James Chance, Lydia Lunch, UT or DNA, one gets a sense that they crossed musical extremities to arrive at a coherent art-form. One of the seminal no-wave bands at the time was Mars. The quartet broke new ground with their farcical, no-bullshit noise. Two guitarists [Summer Crane, China Burke], get off with bassist Mark Cunningham and drummer Nancy Arlen. Everyone but Arlen sing as well. "Mars LP" collects the band's entire output originally released on vinyl between 1977 and 1978. Propelling force is evident in these eleven tunes. Neurotic, freighting jittery and straight on the ball, Mars is music that is violent and unforgiving. Guitars are often times simply a series of maddening picking, while the song structure falls apart before it's even properly built up and given a chance to live up to its full potential. Try and catch your breath during these maddening 32 minutes. Visions of hell and fury rush through the vicinity as the quartet screams a sheer rage and angst. To say that the band in its brief incarnation left a mark on the scene is an understatement. Listen to the way bands like Big Black and Sonic Youth came into their own with the bountiful tree that fell off the Mars tree. Without a doubt, "Mars LP" is a prime candidate for reissue of the year.

- Tom Sekowski


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>> Mars - Mars LP - The Complete Studio Recordings NYC 1977-1978
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