Where do we start with 30 Seconds To Mars, then? Hollywood icon Jared Leto has lead his brother Shannon Leto and Tomo Milicevic to great heights internationally with new album, ‘Love Lust Faith + Dreams’, taking them one giant leap further into space. Take a minute to feel for the crew aboard the International Space Station who had the unfortunate privilege of hearing the first ever commercial copy of music in space; inspiring lyrics such as “Is this the end I feel? / Up in the air, fucked up our life” can’t have set a too uplifting mood for the astronauts.
Peel back the publicity tricks, heart-throb status, overhyped ostentatious live performances and everything else in the way and you’ll eventually find some music somewhere and, surprise, surprise, it’s a concept album. ‘Love’, ‘Lust’, ‘Faith’ and ‘Dreams’ take on 3 songs each with a lady voice occasionally popping up to notify us when the next section of the album is starting, so it’s not too confusing for the listener. Die-hard fans collecting the hard copy of the album will be treated to even more unnecessary pretentiousness with Damien Hirst artwork on the cover and booklet which has colour coding for each of the four album segments; a move that’s sure to discourage buyers than anything else.
The music that 30 Seconds To Mars do produce is layered with different background instruments or “aah”s that most music boffs would call “arena rock” or “stadium rock”, but is frankly a cloud created by the band to cover up any real rock music here at all. Early track ‘Conquistador’ sets the bar for the rest of the album as a decent catchy song with a good riff that sits just the right side of bearable nonsense that has been thrown in, but ‘City Of Angels’ and ‘The Race’ offer very little excitement or interest and the result is extremely dull.
Once you’ve reached half way through the album, somewhere between ‘Love’ and ‘Lust’ (sex?), all bets are off. The nice lady narrator starts speaking a different language and Jared Leto has found an old keyboard somewhere with a setting that makes a variety noises and produces a mess of what can only be six different interludes. ‘Do Or Die’ seems to stand by some sort of structure just with a few violins and choirs thrown in, while the opening to ‘Depuis Le Début’ has an interesting twang to the vocals and offers some hope of finishing with a huge banger but inevitably turns into a fantasy movie fight build up score before closing with the sound of a child’s toy. Remember, this is a concept album and this is the ‘Dreams’ element, or something.
The fanbase following 30 Seconds To Mars have persistently adored the band through Kanye West cameos, a pink mohican on a 40-year-old man, and some truly mind-numbing tracks over the years, and this won’t put them off one bit. They’ll think it’s cinematic, epic and perhaps the sound of their generation, but there’s little here to associate with this being an impressive album by a rock band. There’ll be a lack of new fans enjoying this or people generally being happy that ‘Up In The Air’ is representing us intergalactically, but if you’re a huge follower of the trio then this will be right up your street, or Solar System, or whatever the concept of the album is. Who knows?
Written by Mike Heath