Fame Among The Vulgar
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 Mars Electric's debut, Beautiful Something, knew that the Alabama quartet still had plenty to offer.
Shrewd new European label Atenzia duly recognized 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.
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, 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 "stand-out track." The latter is the pick of a couple of excellent slower-paced tunes. 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 song Jacob Bunton has mastered the art of writing. The infectious "Did I Say Too Much?" echoes the kind of pop-punk tunes with which New Found Glory and Sum 41 have achieved success, while showcasing just how musically tight the rest of Mars Electric are.
Overall, Fame Among The Vulgar is a slightly different, but a generally more consistent record than Beautiful Something. Unlike many bands that are soured by the major-label experience, Mars Electric has 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 is out of this world when it comes to quality modern rock.
Atenzia Records: http://www.atenzia.com/