Charlie Mars- Charlie Mars (V2)
review by Jim Clark

Track Listing

1. Gather The Horses
2. Simple Things
3. Close To Home
4. White Out
5. When The Sun Goes Down
6. Silver Buttons
7. Try So Hard
8. One Horse Town
9. Captain, Captain
10. Bay Springs Road
11. How Could You
12. Nobody Cries



Despite being born in Arkansas, raised in Mississippi and schooled in Texas, Charlie Mars’ latest disc, his self-titled V2 debut, sounds more like Britpop than it sounds like something made a man born in Arkansas, raised in Mississippi and schooled in Texas.

Charlie Mars is a melancholic disc rich with piano, harmonies and orchestrations that still retains its basic rock flavor of guitar, bass and drums. All of this, along with Mars’ excellent voice, which sounds like a cross between Bono and Thom Yorke, drives forward an excellent selection of songs. “Gather The Horses” is propelled by a Chris Martin-like piano line and Darren Dodd’s steady drumming. Some wonderful harmonies take over on the choruses while understated electric guitar stays effectively in the background.

Things slow down for a while with “Simple Things,” “Close To Home,” “White Out” and “When The Sun Goes Down.” These numbers show off Mars’ voice and David Campbell’s excellent string arrangements. The music on these tracks is very subdued, much to the overall strength of the songs.

The pace changes a bit on “Silver Buttons.” While keeping the mood down, the track features a drum loop and another great vocal.

Guitars take center stage on the disc’s first rocker, “Try So Hard.” Bouncing between electric and acoustic guitars, Mars delivers a set of inspired lyrics, starting off with the line, “Bless me father for I have sinned, and I will sin again.”

Staying in the rocking mood, some electric guitar chords are churned out to pace “One Horse Town.”  A drum loop returns on “Captain, Captain”, and the song builds to some great choruses.

Jangly guitar takes over on the final three tracks – the nostalgic “Bay Springs Road,” the wistful “How Could You” and the fitting album closer, “Nobody Cries.”

Special mention must go to the fine production job that guitarist/bassist Rick Beato does. He keeps the songs very focused with emphasis on Mars’ voice. And Beato had a lot to work with as Mars penned an impressive group of songs for his V2 debut.

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mickey simmonds- the seven colours of emptiness
ukz- radiation
pain of salvation - scarsick
icon- icon II, icon live
the pineapple thief- tightly unwound
planet p project- levittown (go out dancing part II)
nosound- lightdark
dengue fever- venus on earth
art of all- morgan
marillion- somewhere else
abigails ghost- selling insincerity
blackfield- blackfield II
damien rice- 9
the who- endless wire
the beach boys- good vibrations
the pineapple thief- little man
the killers- sam's town
tom petty- highway companion
hem- funnel cloud
emm gryner- the summer of high hopes
jeremy enigk- world waits
razorlight- razorlight
gps- window to the soul
iron maiden- a matter of life and death
thom yorke- the eraser
richard butler- richard butler
the flaming lips- at war with the mystics
ray davies- other people's live
david gilmour- on an island
nosound- sol29
jackson browne- running on empty 5.1
neal morse- ?
king crimson- 21st century guide to king crimson
shriekback- cormorant
depeche mode- playing the angel
pallas- the dreams of men
my morning jacket- z
riverside- second life syndrome
roger waters- ca ira
various artists- backs against the wall
riverside- out of myself
sigur ros- takk
killers- hot fuss
queen + paul rodgers- return of the champions
journey- generations
yes- the word is live
emmylou harris- heartaches & highways
van der graaf generator- remaster series
rob dickinson- fresh wine for the horses
annie- anniemal
dredg- catch without arms
foo fighters- in your honor
dream theater- octavarium
belle and sebastian- push barman to open old wounds
the go-betweens- oceans apart
porcupine tree- up the downstair (remaster 2005)
coldplay- x & y
nine inch nails- with teeth
aimee mann- the forgotten arm
van der graaf generator- present
christopher o'riley- hold me to this
glen phillips- winter pays for summer
new order- waiting for the siren's call
ben folds- songs for silverman
john doe- forever hasn't happened yet
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kaki king - legs to make us longer
longview- mercury
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for against- echelons
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kathleen edwards- back to me
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the wedding present- take fountain
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rpwl- world through my eyes
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kino- picture
monarch- the grandeur that was rome
spocks beard- octane
the wonder stuff- escape from rubbish island
richard barbieri- things buried
the pineapple thief- 12 stories down
the pineapple thief- 8 days later
the innoncence mission- now the day is over
zero 7- when it falls
pain of salvation- be
california guitar trio- white water
jelly jam- 2
tim bowness- my hotel year
van halen- the best of both worlds
glen burtnik- welcome to hollywood
charlie mars- charlie mars
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