This is the eponymous debut album of the Californian symphonic rock band Mars Hollow. The band consists of John Baker (vocals, guitar), Jerry Beller (drums, vocals), Kerry Chicoline (bass, vocals) and Steve Mauk (keyboards, vocals). The album contains seven tracks that last between five and thirteen minutes. All tracks sound very melodic; in my opinion this is typical American prog rock. The production of the recordings has been done very well and transparent; you can hear all details of the instruments separately. I would also like to compliment lead singer John Baker. Although I didn’t have the lyrics at my disposal, I could easily understand what he was singing about.
Here’s a short summary of the most striking elements of all tracks. The funky bass line in the opening song Wait For Me is quite a surprise. This pleasant song is a sort of mixture of the musical styles of German band Everon and their compatriots of Enchant, I would say. Midnight has an excellent Moog-solo in the middle-section, while Eureka begins jazzy followed by a kind of Keith Emerson-like Hammond-organ solo and a very interesting part at the end. If I Were You is a kind of ballad, lyrically not a hit but musically well-played. The heavy Hammond-organ and drum solo are the most interesting parts of this song, but the freaky guitar at the end doesn’t belong to my favourites. In Your Hands is a melodic up-tempo song with some excellent close-harmony singing. Wild Animal has a jazzy approach in the middle-section and a strange fusion-like electric guitar solo at the end. Dawn Of Creation, the longest piece of the album, begins with spooky space sounds, a hammering piano and some nice electric guitar solos. In this piece you recognize the outstanding musical qualities of the individual band members. Especially the tight and effective drumming of Jerry Beller is more than excellent in this complex highlight of Mars Hollow. The final electric guitar solo is of a high technical level.
Mars Hollow certainly has enough potential to grow on following releases. If you like the music of famous bands like Kansas and Styx or more obscure bands like Enchant, Iluvator and Ad Infinitum, you will enjoy this debut of Mars Hollow.
*** Cor Smeets (edited by Peter Willemsen)
Where to buy?
All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2013