From Aural Innovations #15 (April 2001)
Martian Death Lyric - "Millions Now Living Must Die"
(UGI Records 2000, CD)
Finally! A full length CD from Martian Death Lyric. Ok, it's only 25 minutes long, but there are 13 tracks and MDL make their point quite succinctly in a 2 minute song playing their punky, New Wavey, garagy brand of Devo/B-52's styled space whackiness. Not only are MDL one of the most purely fun space bands I've ever heard and seen perform, but they really really really are from Mars!! Honest, they told me!! The trio are still Replink Slerb on keyboards and vocals, Yigrac Eeenk on String Atom-Smasher (bass), and Neyek Vieke on X-ray Cannons of Death (drums).
"Hat Of Beef Overture" is a kick ass rockin' opening track. "Let's Put The X In Planet X" is a quirky keyboard driven tune that displays the band's Devo/B-52's leanings, which are just as much, if not MORE, fun than either of those bands. "MDL's Creed" is similar, but completely manic in its pace. Robotic efx'd vocals read the riot act for the human race and their fate. "Roswell 47 (Crash And Burn)" features cosmically fun and freaky keyboards. "Walk The Xenomorph" is a crash-bash-bang rocker in which the rhythm section of Yigrac and Neyek take center stage. Actually the drumming is more intricate than on any other MDL tune I've heard yet. "Duck Of Death" is one of my favorite tracks being a punky garagy New Wavey gravy freakout track. Yigrac's killer bass wrecks havoc like Godzilla stomping through Tokyo. I'll never forget his high-energy playing at the Camp Buzz festival. Truly a Martian possessed. And MDL show their passionate side on "Venus Is The Planet Of Love". You think Martians don't have feelings?!! Well this song brought a tear to my eye God damn it!!
MDL come to Earth with tongues firmly in cheeks but readers should note that not only are they fun but they write good songs too. Having been following these aliens for a few years now and wanting to know more we conducted the following interview through cyberspace.
AI: Why did you leave Mars? And why South Carolina for an Earth destination?
Yigrac: We are ambassadors of ill will on a mission of hatred...
Replink: We were actually heading to one of the more inhabited areas of Earth, but we decided to cut a few donuts in some tobacco fields just to scare the farmers... the engine sputtered out and, well, here we are.
Neyek (grimaces as if disgusted)
AI: You used to make threats against humans and the Earth like, Your race must die!!, and, Your planet will be reduced to a parking lot!! When I met you a couple years ago you guys seemed to get along pretty good with humans. Should we all still be looking over our shoulders?
AI: I assume from the song "We Do Not Play Surf Rock" that you're often described as such. Do you think it's just because of the visual Man or Astroman related look rather than people actually hearing that in the music?
Yigrac: You are correct. The term "surf rock" often comes up in articles. We find music writers' determination to pigeonhole this band impressive, yet nauseating. The problem with terms like "surf rock", or "space music" is that they mislead listeners. When someone uses the term "surf rock", they're usually referring to a particular sound; when a writer uses the term "space music", or "space rock", it seems they're referring to Pink Floyd, Can, Amon Düül II, Sun Ra Intergalactic Jazz Arkestra, etc... But we don't sound like the Ventures or any of the other bands I've mentioned. If someone attends an MDL show expecting to hear "surf rock" or some keyboard heavy free improvisations, they're going to be disappointed. Our music utilizes space, but not necessarily in the same way as do other bands that have been tagged as "space rock". I'd describe our sound as "MDL Music". That's what it is, approach it on it's own terms.
Replink: Humans are so ridiculously shallow and myopic that they can't comprehend what we're about. The human race has attached itself to tradition and two-dimensional thinking for so long that there is almost a need to mimic the past - or to compare what comes next to that which has come before... our sounds are other-worldly, which throws this entire idea of earth musical tradition into flux, leaving the terran critic with nothing to compare us to musically, therefore since they cannot trust their ears, they rely on their eyes and we find ourselves compared to Man or Astroman? or Devo... simply based on visual aesthetics.
AI: What bands have influenced you?
Replink: Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes, Led Zeppelin, Trans Am, Sy Snootles, Devo
Yigrac: Sprocc (from planet Blipp), ZZ Top, The Who, James Brown, and I think Neyek likes Vogon Poetry...
AI: You've released sporadic 7" vinyl discs for a few years now. Does this full CD release mean MDL will be trying to kick into high gear in 2001?
Yigrac: Yes, we are planning to bring the message to more humans.
Replink: We tentatively have plans to do a tour awaiting approval from the High Command.
Neyek (takes a sip of bleach)
AI: Do you get to play live much in your area?
Replink: We play as much as we want to locally. We have a pretty good draw where we're at and try not to overexpose ourselves. We'd like to get out of town a bit more.
Yigrac: Again, all this awaits approval of High Command.
AI: You traveled a good ways to Ohio for the Camp Buzz festival in 1999. Have you played/toured outside your area other than that show?
Replink: We've played at various parties and mixers in other areas of the universe... we played an "Earth Rock" festival in the Zeta Reticuli galaxy last spring.
Neyek (snarls menacingly)
AI: You drew quite a bit of attention at Camp Buzz (y'know, being from Mars and all) with loads of people taking your picture, asking questions, and such. Is this typical of an MDL performance? Should Earth men be holding tightly to their girlfriends at MDL shows?
Yigrac: Yes... love ain't for keeping.
Replink: Mars needs women.
AI: Are there any other musical projects any of you are involved in?
Yigrac: Supercomputer XDP-13 mentioned doing a solo "unplugged" album, but when we discussed how that might not be such a good idea, he replied "Syntax Error, my bad".
Replink: I've been working on completing my Jedi skills by making my own instruments. I've got plans for a new PVC composite Zilge Lute on the monitor screen.
AI: Any current events or future news you'd like to share?
Replink: We command you to buy our album.
Yigrac: Keep watching the Skies!
Neyek (nods as if in agreement)
You can visit Martian Death Lyric at their web site.
Millions Now Living Must Die is available for a mere $5 (payable to Bill Perkins). Mail to UGI Records; 2217; Shenandoah Ave; Charlotte, NC 28205.