Album: Mars Doesn’t Feel Like Home Anymore
Release Date: November 2nd 2022
Location: London, UK
London’s Longheads hit us with a mind altering offering with Mars Doesn’t Feel Like Home Anymore. The album title couldn’t be more fitting because there’s a spacey otherworldly feeling that the album evokes through its impressive use of tones and textures.
For me this is my first introduction to the band, but they immediately won me over as a fan. As many of you may already know I’m a huge psych fan, I love everything from 60s psych rock through to folk psych and modern heavy psych. So, the second that the album’s opening track One Step Further began I knew that I was in for a real treat. From that first second of guitar I was just ready for whatever came next and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. This is top tier psych rock with elements of garage rock and krautrock in the mix, combining both classic 70s elements and modern flourishes and innovation. Most importantly it feels natural and free-flowing which is a key requirement for me with any psych driven music.
The band employ an absolutely stunning but highly varied range of guitar tones throughout the album and at times apply to this a spacey distorted effect, making it that much more impactful. There are moments of impressive technicality and complexity broken up by vast swathes of immersive, captivating atmosphere. The balance struck between the two is one of the band’s strengths, ensuring that the listener doesn’t burn out, which can sometimes happen with heavy psych music if you aren’t in the right headspace going into it. Most importantly, some segments are just straight up trippy, as spacey, faded effects meet wild meandering riffs to distort reality around you in real time.
The drum work is equally as varied, shifting from smooth, almost jazzy work through to fast paced, technical offerings. They play a key role in driving the album’s energy, however the guitar is ultimately the lead element on this release and both the drums and bass follow its lead. Speaking of bass, what we get here is truly fantastic, thick, funky basslines that weave in and out of the guitar work adding a huge depth of sound to the music.
Finally, we have the vocals, which on some tracks are used fairly sparingly making them that much more impactful. At other times though they are far more prominent, operating as a driving force. The style used has a clean relaxed sound but has distortion, layering and echoing effects applied to it, the mix of which changes constantly as needed. They sit perfectly in the mix, existing in harmony with the instrumentals.
While I love the whole album I would definitely say that Mars Doesnt Feel Like Home Anymore is my favourite track. Not only is this the longest song on the album, coming in at over 9 minutes, but it’s the most diverse and impressively written. The song slowly evolves as it unfurls, ever expanding its sound and reach. The spacey, layered vocals that fade in and out of the mix really hit home on this track, pairing perfectly with the relaxed, ethereal instrumental elements. Softer, calmer parts give way to fast paced, more technical segments with impressive instrumentation. By the time the track ends you’re both mind blown and left wanting more; a perfect way to close out the album.
Overall, this is a solid release that should please most fans of heavy psych and garage rock. There’s enough variety and innovation that things are exciting and interesting but not so much that you can’t space out and lose yourself in the music.
Listen to and order the album: