Boomkat Product Review:
Despite the spread of their influence and all-round notoriety Mars were only active as a recording and touring entity between 1977 and 1978, meaning that the sum total of their legacy can be reasonably evaluated on a single compact disc - this compact disc, to be precise. This one-volume, thirty-minute release houses Mars' complete studio recordings, totaling just eleven tracks. The band were pioneers of New York's No Wave scene, appearing on the infamous No New York compilation alongside fellow scene luminaries DNA, Teenage Jesus And The Jerks, James Chance And The Contortions, and thirty years on this music seems to have lost none of its otherness. Although the likes of 'Helen Forsdale' and '3E' remain blisteringly energetic - the scrap yard of ideas that would come to influence the likes of Sonic Youth - tracks like 'Scorn' and 'Outside Africa' could be from another planet. Although guitar, bass, drums and vocals are still the core ingredients there's no cushion of familiarity to be found in the jagged bombardment of the more extreme tracks here: the freeform wailing of 'The Immediate Stages Of The Erotic' is about as far away from rock music convention as is possible, and even the 4/4 stricture of 'Tunnel' proves to be an unbridled dirge, making a mockery of the apparent rhythmic order that holds the track together; the drums march to their own beat while all other instruments flounder independently and erratically, as Sumner Crane spits out a caustic and unintelligible vocal. Heavy going stuff all this, but the glimmer of excitement and newness permeates its every fibre.