Respublica Mars are a Russian outfit who we featured as Band of the Day about a year ago. Since then they’ve been working on their second album which came out a short while ago. Called Music From The Underground, it’s available from their Bandcamp and Reverbnation pages and I was pleasantly surprised to receive a CD copy in the post.
What sets Respublica Mars apart as an outfit is that none of the members have ever actually met. All four of them write, discuss, record and mix using the internet as they each live quite a distance from the others. They’ve downsized from a five to a four piece since I last checked them out, but there’s been no reduction in music quality as a result.
The band are nicely “hard rock”. No frills, no experimentation, no mucking about. All the lyrics are in Russian, which makes singing along a little tricky, but otherwise this is standard fare. Also, every song is a cover version. Unusual, perhaps, for a second album but they’ve focusses on bands from the “Russian Far East” so it’s unlikely many of us will be familiar with them. In fact, the band have deliberately gone for both artists and songs which most people won’t know.
Opener “Artist” is a great way to start things rolling. It doesn’t hold back and is a nice, catchy rock number. “Nonsense Stories” is a little gritter with some distortion on the guitars and vocals. It’s also annoyingly toe-tappy.
Track three is the first one that really makes you wish that the lyrics were in English as the title is “Bruce Willis”. Actually, I wish more bands would go to the trouble of making their lyrics as clear as Respublica Mars do. If I spoke Russian I’d know every lyric. Incidentally, this song throws a bit of saxophone your way. I don’t know if a guest musician was involved, but it works!
One of my favourite tracks is “Losing You”, a song which pushes into the power ballad territory and has a cracking guitar solo half way through. With piano throughout, it’s obviously influenced by the likes of Motley Crue. “Escape” has more of a Die Toten Hosen / punk edge to it along with one of the catchiest riffs on the album. Great song.
Things slow down a bit by the time we get to “Mermaid” which has long musical passages, but it’s a wonderful song. In fact, there’s little that lets the album down. The simple fact that they’ve chosen to go with cover songs by other artists pretty much means that the whole thing will be dripping with variety from beginning to end.
Add to that the fact that they’re only asking $2 for the whole album and there’s little reason not to pick Music From The Underground up.