Album review

Boss Martians : The Set-Up
MuSick Recordings

Boss Martians : The  Set-UpAbused terms of our time, part whatever: Pop-punk. If I said that the Boss Martians played their own unique brand of pop-punk, your fevered imagination may conjure up images of day-glo processed punkers like New Found Glory or, heaven help us, Busted.
    Luckily, the truth is more palatable: This Seattle outfit deal in fast-paced glossy alt-rock which cherry picks the best bits of 70s and 80s new wave - most notably Elvis Costello, Cheap Trick and an occasional musical motif from the Ramones. That they manage to cram in so many references without sounding like any one of their influences is laudable. Only when Evan Foster takes a vocal trip to Costello-ville while Nick C hammers his Hammond do the Boss Martians betray a love of any one act . . . okay, and Oh, Angela - second cousin to early Elvis single Alison.

While the Boss Martians' sound is refreshing, they work within a tight template, which means variety isn't one of The Set-Up's strong points. When they do break past their self-imposed boundaries, such as on the infectious Walk Away, the results are fantastic. This track is an undoubted highlight, draging all of this disc's charms into one song; sneered rock 'n' roll vocals, bouncing melodies and a whole lot of hyperactive organ.
    In spirit at least, comparisons could be drawn with fellow Seattle outfit Everclear, but musically the band the Boss Martians remind me of most are long-forgotten Boston power-pop trio The Neighborhoods - fellow Cheap Trick fans who success was mostly in their own locale. Let's hope the same fate doesn't befall the Boss Martians, as The Set-Up is good enough to deserve a wider audience.

:: Rowan Shaeffer

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