There are so many songs about love, or loss, or everyday life. It feels good every now and then to delve into a song like ‘Coming Up For Air’ that elects to break the mould and play around with different ideas and narratives. This first cut from Mars Motel’s debut album Passenger X tells the tale of an android longing to be human and trying to change to find acceptance. Whether you take the story at face value, or use it as a mirror for our own need to connect and be understood, it is a unique and fascinating foundation to build a song upon. The music built around the story offers up a great blend of retro 80s vibes, bright and airy indie soundscapes, and perfectly polished pop melodies. The winding bass line gives the track an inescapable energy, and it carries the kind of infectious hooks that stay with you all day.
When you grow up listening religiously to the likes of Led Zeppelin and Rush, it’d be a major understatement to say that you soon learn to appreciate a good rhythm section. With this latest track from Brooklyn based rockers Mars Motel, the rhythm section in particular offers some of the most memorable instrumentation I’ve heard all year. Recorded live for their new EP The Eclipse Sessions, ‘City Streets’ lures you in with its emphatic shuddering drums and a bass line that winds its way towards you like a python through the undergrowth. Upon this foundation of post punk menace, the guitar and vocals build up a mix of Britpop inspired melodies and psychedelic reverb to provide real light and shade. All about young love and subsequent heartbreak, the two sides to the song do a great job of portraying both the innocence and optimism of youth alongside the angst and anguish of a break-up.