“Apex III” (Praise for the Burning Soul)

By Dr. Abner Mality

This French band is pretty well known in stoner/psych circles but this is my first encounter with them. Wish I could say their sound appealed more to me. It’s quite laid back and lays on the psychedelic effects pretty heavily. There is some fuzzy, thick riffing here, but not an awful lot and the extremely poppy and dreamy vocals of Julian Pras detract further from the energy needed to keep my interest.

The combination of poppy vocals and heavy music has been done in the past to good effect (Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats being one example) but it takes a special touch. I find such singing actually works better when the music is dark and heavy. That doesn’t happen here all that often and the songs are generally too slow paced to be considered stonerrock, which is designed to get the head nodding. But if you love guitars with tons of effects like delay, echo and reverb on them, you’ll get enjoyment out of Mars Red Sky. There’s a virtual orgy of that kind of approach on “Apex III”.

I enjoyed the songs “Prodigal Sun” and “Mindreader” because they did have that extra layer of fuzz and heaviness to mix with the doped-up lassitude of the vocals. But I can’t say this has the memorable factor to stick in my brain. I like laid back tunes on occasion, but the hippy is so thick here that I feel like taking a shower to get the smell of patchouli off me once I listen to it. Recommended if you’re a psych-freak…not if you’re into doom or sludge.