Mission to Mars: Lasterday

Mission to Mars
(Stereotype North)

Unlike the movie of the same title, Mission to Mars hasn’t entirely failed in entertaining its intended audience with Lasterday. If Ben Barnett from Kind of Like Spitting took some throat lozenges and sung as lead singer of Barenaked Ladies (especially on the track “Test for Thomas”), it would vaguely describe the overall sound of Mission to Mars.

“Sea of Tranquility” is the compulsory, radio-friendly slow dance/makeout song describing a typical walk home in the moonlight. The guitars delicately layer with drums and xylophone in a steady wave, causing the listener to drift off into the sea mentioned in the title. The background instruments swell, wavelike as if in anticipation of that first kiss.

As a stark contrast, “Middle Eastern Skin” explodes into what would at first glance appear to be a political message, but is just the tragic observation of an impossible love. Innocuously enough, the almost cheerful tone of acoustic and electric guitars permeates the song. They eerily continues after the story’s heartbreaking climax, further leaving the listener unsettled long after the song is over.

Yet despite a few standout tracks, Lasterday has a few “filler” songs where it seems as if the band had to write a thesis paper, but waited until the last second and filled it with whatever they could find.

Mission to Mars succeeds in catching the listener’s attention, but has trouble fully holding onto it.