Hundred Million Martians - Marseille

Hundred Million Martians formed as early as 1991 although it took them 3 years to make the move from rehearsal space to making their live debut. The time spent in rehearsals had spawned quite a few original songs by this point so the time certainly wasn't wasted. Early gigs were mainly confined to their home town supporting various bands from Finland. Their debut recorded effort consisted of 2 tracks on a compilation album which was followed by more gigs further afield and eventually 3 albums and a number of EP's. One EP took the form of a very different concept, 4 tracks all called "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend". One was an original song and the other three all covers (The Ramones, The Rubinoos and The Pushtwangers) which gained them quite a bit of interest. Marseille is the fourth album and a natural progression to their songwriting, it also features harmonica and saxophone on three tracks from none other than Michael Monroe.

"News Years Eve" kicks things off in storming fashion, a great rock song filled with power pop sensibilities and is quickly followed with "Backseat Of Your Soul" which starts in a fairly simplistic fashion before breaking out into a chorus to die for! You can't help but get swept along with it and leaves you smiling before it's through. The harmonies throughout this album are spine-tinglingly good, many bands try and pull off harmonies like this and on the most part fail, very few get it nailed down as good as these guys. The joyous "Life Ain't That Bad, Girl" is up next, another slice of sonic perfection that'll be buzzing round your head for weeks to come. The rest of the album plays out in similar pleasing fashion crammed with melodies, infectious choruses and pure talent that most bands would kill their granny for. Tracks like "Passsed", "Across The Street" and "Another Reason Why" will have you playing them to as many people as you can find, you really want to shout from the rooftops how good this stuff is. There's even hints of the sadly-defunct Science Fiction Idols and Rolling Stones on "UC/BC" with it's swaggering rock'n'roll vibe.

The band recently played 2 shows at the Liverpool leg of the International Pop Overthrow, which is an annual power pop festival held at the Cavern Club in Liverpool and various places in America and Canada (LA, San Francisco, Portland and Vancouver this year) which were very well received. Hopefully the band will get more exposure and the chance to play more shows on the International stage. It'd be a shame for the rest of the world to miss out on a band as good as this! A definite contender for album of the year.

10/10

by John Baxter

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