Mars Red Sky: Stranded In Arcadia

Gallic stoner rockers still keeping their co-ordinates in check

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So ubiquitous have its conventions become that the tag ‘stoner rock’ has almost become a dirty word. Not, however, in the world of French stoner rockers Mars Red Sky. With almost every stoner/doom trait crammed somewhere into their blues-hued sonic meanders, while the power trio’s sound has altered little since their 2011 debut, what it has become is that little bit more cultured and, marginally, more unique.

Yes, the thick, downtuned and fuzzed-up guitars à la Saint Vitus are still prevalent, as are the Al Cisneros-meets-Geezer Butler warbling basslines and Naam-esque approach to riff-based, almost grungy psychedelia.

Notably, too, vocalist Julien Pras appears to have grown in confidence, from the sweeping wail he employs over the rather ponderous opener The Light Beyond to the likes of Holy Mondays, where his largely more droning approach traipses far less prominently between pummelling drums and organ blasts. Elsewhere the creepy, instrumental stroll of Arcadia brings to mind a take on Church Of Misery’s calmer moments, while Seen A Ghost checks both the head-nodding and uncomfortably dirgy boxes.