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Saint Mars - Ocean Blues EP (Grá Mór Phonic Records)

14 February 2017

For those who thought The Jesus and Mary Chain’s combination of The Beach Boys and The Velvet Underground seemed at first improbable, think again. Combining the harmonies of the former with the Goth rock of Joy Division and The Cure, Saint Mars finds success with an even more improbable match. On their debut EP, Ocean Blues, this band from Bristol, UK manages to combine the sunniest of vocal harmonies with the gloomiest of Gothic melodies, and introduces them as a bold and ambitious upcoming force in the post-punk genre.

The title track, “Ocean Blues,” happens to be the best song here as well as the most straight-forwardly post-punk, and its lyrics, which deal with childhood bullying, are fittingly bleak. If the title of the song, “Boys Never Cry,” sounds a touch familiar to a more famous song by an even more famous goth band, the two songs in reality couldn’t be farther apart. “Boys Never Cry” is an ambitious, and largely successful, attempt at updating baroque music and polyphonic melodies for the 21st century. Released late last year, Ocean Blues proves to be a fascinating appetizer for a full-length debut, Celesteville, to be released in 2017 on Grá Mór Phonic Records.