On hearing that former Jesus & Mary Chain and International Jetsetters singer/songwriter/guitarist Mark Crozer had a new band and recently released a new self-titled album, steps were quickly taken to acquire these tracks for analysis and review. Having come to expect nothing less than a high quality of songwriting and overall sound from Mark, it comes as no surprise then that is exactly what we have here.
Mark Crozer and the Rels delivers fourteen tracks of impeccably crafted pop music. Regarding the band name, a Rel is a unit of measurement for time on the popular British televisions program Dr. Who. Album opener "War Drum" layers slashing guitar chords, a singular driving bass line and handclap enhanced percussion with harmony vocals that point directly to the authors own self-professed Beatles influence. There's even a "whooo hoooo" moment and harmonica solo straight out of "Love Me Do."
The clever lyrical turn of "I need a Vaccination" (against this lust, you see) gets to the hook with its "Come one, come on, come on gimme a" refrain. It's a chugging driver that has all the makings of a live show pleaser. “Killed By Karma,” has that great tambourine on the chorus and poppy guitar chords that situates itself somewhere between the Kinks and The Cure. What a way to leave this world, indeed.
“Sunshine” is positioned firmly in the "swingin' 60's" of Carnaby Street, Chad & Jeremy, the Cavern club and Merseybeat. While "Brand New World" celebrates the positive joys of each and every new day, drawing a sonic line directly to 1965 and Herman's Hermits "I'm Into Something Good."
“Let’s Go to the Moon” takes the romantic imagery traditionally assigned to that particularly orbiting satellite and playfully laments those "days before pollution killed the sky." It's a more modern sound here and one that resembles closer the music from Mark's International Jetsetters work.
A message to someone once close but haven't had contact with in quite some time is the basic lyrical premise of “Put Those `80s Records On.” Along with an irresistibly catchy chorus of the title line, there's a wistful feeling of things "we loved when we were young."
The touching "You are a Light" presents a message of hope and confidence to someone who has their whole life in front of them. While "Just Another Day" demonstrates a meticulous attention to detail with it's impeccably recorded vocals.
With an "Ahhhhhh, here she comes" vocal section reminiscent of The Beatles "Sun King," “Waiting for June” adds a bit of "Walrus" too with it's pulsing string section. The California coast serves as a launching point for "Deep Caroline," with its Beach Boys tinged 'good vibrations' verses. A big guitar interlude thoroughly modernizes the sound, however.
The more foreboding side of The Beatles catalog is referenced on "A Good Heart." Guitar and piano textures suggest a track like "Cry Baby Cry" off The White Album as something of a spiritual touchstone. Album closer "Bristol Hum" is keyboard driven adding elements of dance music to a classic points-of-reference-around-the-globe lyrical theme.
You can hear 30 second samples of these songs (as well as order the record) right here:
Additional features on Mark and his band The Rels can be found here:
As well as my own feature on his previous band The International Jetsetters, here:
And at MarkCrozer.com
And at MarkCrozer.com