Is Anybody Out There – Mars Hall (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

You can make a fair argument for the fact that classic rock music, a bit like sharks, found its perfect form a long time ago. But the difference is that in the case of classic rock it doesn’t hurt to give it a bit of a polish and brush up from time to time. (Warning, don’t try this with sharks, they won’t thank you for it) And that is exactly what Mars Hall are doing here… the music thing, not the shark thing.

Right from the opening salvo, Get In The Car, you realise that polish is exactly the right word as the music is sharp and crisp, deftly wrought and wonderfully accessible. But more than that too, between the expected rock energy and foot-on-the-monitor grooves, the stomp and the swagger, there is a wonderful pop, almost Beatlesque melodicism, which in turn more than justifies their inclusion of Elenor Rigby here.

Falling Apart is the perfect stadium rocker, Overkill (The Ballad of Sid & Nancy) is a dark, theatrical slow burner, I’m Gone has a touch of old school rock ‘n’ roll swing to it and the title track is a rock odyssey musing on the age-old question of alien contact.

Every now and then it is worth taking the old sonic vehicle out of the garage, oiling it up and taking it for a spin around the block just to ensure that everything is still in full working order. This is exactly what Mars Hall are doing here and they also manage to burn a few tyre marks on the road, fill the air with burning oil and wake up the neighbours in the process. The genre, it would seem, is in very safe hands.

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