Mars Electric - 2003 Fame Among The Vulgar

ARTIST: Mars Electric
ALBUM: Fame Among The Vulgar
LABEL: Atenzia Records
YEAR: 2003

LINEUP: Jacob Bunton - vocals, guitars * Chris Simmons - guitars * Carl Hopper - bass * Matt Finn - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Bemused * 02 Disco King * 03 Queen Of Suffering * 04 Descend * 05 Heaven's Gate * 06 Baby's Got A Brand New Life * 07 Did I Say Too Much * 08 Dancing In The Clouds * 09 Don't Say Goodbye * 10 I'm Not Dreaming


Along with fellow modern rockers Neve, Mars Electric first emerged in 2000 via Portrait, Columbia Records ill fated imprint label. Portrait may have bitten the dust, but anyone who heard the slick, radio-friendly nu-breed rock on the band's debut, 'Beautiful Something', knew that the Alabama quartet still had plenty to offer.

Shrewd new European label Atenzia duly recognised that talent and signed Mars Electric to their exciting roster of upcoming and established modern rock acts, and judging by the quality of 'Fame Among The Vulgar', that was clearly a wise decision.

The Songs

From the opening onslaught of the raucous 'Bemused', it's clear there won't be any songs quite as lush and majestic as the gorgeous ballad 'Another Day (On Top of the World)' from 'Beautiful Something', but this album is patently less polished than its predecessor.

The guitars may be more cranked up than previously but vocalist Jacob Bunton's melodic instincts still emphatically remain. Indeed, first single 'Disco King' could be the catchiest song Mars Electric have written and competes with 'Baby's Got A Brand New Life' for the accolade of the album's stand-out track.

The latter is the pick of a couple of excellent slower, mid-paced tunes and although its story of a star who falls foul of fame is a fairly well-worn one, the melody and power of the song more than compensates.

Elsewhere, 'Queen Of Suffering' is the kind of commercial modern rock songs Jacob Bunton has mastered the art of writing so well, and the infectious 'Did I Say Too Much?' echoes the kind of pop-punk tunes New Found Glory and Sum 41 have achieved success with whilst showcasing just how musically tight the rest of Mars Electric are.

In Summary

Overall, 'Fame Among The Vulgar' is a slightly different, but generally more consistent record than 'Beautiful Something' and unlike many bands that are soured by the major-label experience, Mars Electric have clearly come back stronger.

Like the infamous John Kalodner at Columbia who signed the band originally, Atenzia's Magnus Soderkvist is rarely wrong in his judgement of bands, and 'Fame Among The Vulgar' proves that Mars Electric are out of this world when it comes to quality modern rock.

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