I first came across Dr Mars when I was touring with Masters of Reality. The project of MOR drummer John Leamy and associate Liam O Malley, it couldn’t have been more different than I was expecting. For those of you not familiar with Masters of Reality, without getting into a massive genre debate, probably the easiest way to sum them up quickly is Stoner Rock. Dr Mars are definitely, definitely not this. It’s never easy when somebody gives you something personally to listen to (and I was given this on the 3rd night of tour – I wasn’t particularly looking forward to having to keep coming out with well-meaning platitudes for the rest of the month if I didn’t like it), but from the first track, I was totally hooked. However, I’m gonna have to admit that I didn’t find this one an easy review to do.
I’ve never written about anything of this genre before – looking at them on iTunes they’re labelled as ‘space rock’, but that doesn’t even come close to describing what this record’s about. If you imagine an old time radio, playing music that transports you back to a time when rock n roll was all there was, that’s probably the closest I can come to summing this up genre-wise.
Right from the beginning, this album’s going to have you tapping your foot and singing along in no time at all. Every song has that instant ‘totally catchy’ feel to it, even though the styles of songs vary a fair bit within the album. The lyrics are such a refreshing change from today’s fashion of ‘f*** everything in the world ever and then some more’, and you’ll find songs about searching for that one person, messages from outer space and about times once past, and the album as a whole has a totally delightful feel to it lyrically. The whole album is a throwback to a previous generation of music, and it’s so good to be able to listen to something that brings this feel, but is from a new, modern band.
Stars in Our Favour meanders from track to track, and this is said in the best possible way. There’s a hugely unhurried feel to the album, and it’s exactly the soundtrack you’d want on a hot summer’s day while you’re in the park eating a picnic. It brings to mind lazing around with that special somebody, watching the world go by and reminiscing about times gone by. The tracks themselves are hugely varied – you’ve tracks like ‘Personally’ and ‘The Cavalier’ that are hugely swinging, fast numbers that make you wanna get up and dance, along with more soulful tracks like ‘I’ll Have You Anyway’ and ‘The Golden Age’ that are slower, yet losing none of the power of their faster counterparts.
This album is, quite simply, totally different from the norm. It makes you feel safe, it reaches places that you’ve not quite experienced in a modern album before, and it’s the kind of album that you want to stick on repeat for weeks on end, as you keep discovering hidden depths in the lyrics, the music and the rhythm. Your love affair with it builds and builds – each track that you discover makes you fall that little bit deeper in love with it, and by the time you’ve listened to it a few times, you’re totally sucked in, and you can’t quite imagine not having heard it. It will become a firm favourite in no time, and with its blend of romance, of intrigue and of wistfulness, it’ll grab you in a totally unexpected way and stay with you. I have absolutely no doubt that whatever your music taste, you’ll love this album, as this is the kind of music that’s formed everything we now listen to, but with a wonderful modern slant. Enjoy it!
Review: Felicity Hall