Marscape, Jack Lancaster & Robin Lumley (Cherry Red)
1976. We should have landed on Mars by then, there should have been jetpacks and holidays in space, flying cars, robot servants and friendly aliens. What we got was calculators, piles of rubbish on the streets, Johnny Bloody Rotten and his mates, and a jazz rock album by most of what would become Brand X, Phil Collins’ side project to ruining Genesis.
But at least he only drums here and doesn’t sing, while keyboard player Robin Lumley noodles and doodles cheezy synthesizer sounds in a high pitched futuristic pitch over some laden bass grooves. There’s some sitar-sounding guitar, some piano that sounds like variations on Chopsticks, lots of fretless bass runs into the distance and some wooshing sounds and percussion to create the likes of dust storms, as well as synthesizer didjeridoo to create The Pipes Of Mars on the Blow Holes track. (No, I don’t know what that is about either, it’s the Moon that’s made of holey cheese, not Mars.)
Music like this makes you understand why punk happened, even if you didn’t like their haircuts or the racket they made. And you can see why Nasa and everyone else lost interest in the space race, too, if it inspired dreadful music like this. If the heavenly voices on Sail On Solar Winds aren’t enough to put you off, then calling a piece of music With A Great Feeling Of Love: Inner Warmth And Feelings Of Affinity is simply a step too far. In fact I think it’s grounds for a slow and painful death.
It’s a shame CDs don’t work as frisbees like LPs used to do, otherwise I could pretend I’d spotted a UFO and sell blurry photos to the News Of The World. The future isn’t like it used to be, but thankfully, in space no-one can you scream, nor play jazz rock clichés. If the aliens have heard this it’s no wonder they’ve stayed away.
Johnny Beam-Me-Up Brainstorm