Music

Thirty Seconds to Mars: Love Lust Faith + Dreams

Conceptual and ambitious, Love Lust Faith + Dreams has finer moments as well as moments that are overwrought, overextended, and overproduced.


Thirty Seconds to Mars

Love Lust Faith + Dreams

Label: Virgin
US Release Date: 2013-05-21
UK Release Date: 2013-05-20
Amazon
iTunes

Alternative rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars return with their fourth studio album and first album in four years, Love Lust Faith + Dreams, following 2009’s This Is War. Conceptual and ambitious, Love Lust Faith + Dreams has its finer moments as well as moments that are overwrought, overextended, and overproduced. The best material graces the front of the album while the middle and back-half are less triumphant.

“Birth” establishes the tone, with magnificent production constantly crescendoing to reach an illustrious peak. Characterized by brass and string timbres, the beauty and the craft is indisputable. Frontman Jared Leto sings indulgently, truly invested into the lyrics. If “Birth” foreshadows, “Conquistador” reveals the total picture, filled with dirty guitars that rock from the onset. Leto never fights the production for vocal clarity, even when things grow gargantuan on the anthemic chorus. The consistency continues into “Up in the Air”, even as Leto is his most introspective lyrically: “A thousand times I tempted fate / A thousand times I played this game … ” or “Up in the air ... all of the laws I broke and loves that I’ve sacrificed / Is this the end?” Overloaded, “Up in the Air” is enjoyable even if the band could have ‘chilled out’ a bit.

“City of Angels” isn’t too shabby, filled with minimalistic ideas and pummeling drums. That said, it wouldn’t have been compromised by edits to curb length. The brief “The Race” atones, anchored by a thudding beat that gives off a danceable pop sensibility. Even better, “The Race” opens with a superb recurring string line that adds great intensity and emotion. “Hey! It began with an ending / Hey! We were fighting for the world / Hey! My desire never ending / Hey! The race, the race,” Leto sings enthusiastically on the catchy chorus. “The Race” ranks among the top tracks from Love Lust Faith + Dreams. Following the opening quintet of songs, the flaws appear more regularly throughout.

“End of All Days” makes an excellent effort towards diversification by contrasting time signature (it’s in six as opposed to four). Leto manages to remain gritty, even through the cut’s a ballad. The main rub is length, as a decent cut becomes one belabored too long. “Pyres of Varanasi” is a pleasant instrumental track for the most part (with some indecipherable, inconsequential vocals), but begs the question of ‘what is the band aiming for?’ “Bright Lights” revisits a thudding beat, which becomes a mark of sameness as opposed to distinction. Essentially, the cues remain intact, but the ‘cards have been revealed’ several times over.

“Do or Die” once more relies on a familiar beat as well as liberal layering. “Convergence” takes on a similar role to “Pyres of Varanasi”, with the spoken word “dreams” concluding the number. “Northern Lights” is the best track from the back-half by far, with Leto and the band sounding more invigorated and creatively invested. It drags on too long, but joins the list of better cuts. Closing song “Depuis Le Début” contains three separate sections, matching the scattered nature of a somewhat confused conceptual album.

Overall, Thirty Seconds to Mars have some great ideas and some solid moments on Love Lust Faith + Dreams. That said, putting ambition successfully into practice and sometimes overindulging in ‘great ideas’ sometimes undoes those ideas. Sure, the synthesized ideas are thoughtful enhancing things, but even the greatest enhancers can grow predictable after a spell. Flawed yet with some redemption, Love Lust Faith + Dreams is a mixed effort.

6

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less
6

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image