Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams
Reviewed by Jane Roser
I’ll admit that I never paid much attention to actor Jared Leto’s alternative rock band 30 Seconds To Mars until a few years ago. Other than the occasional times he showed up in the pages of celebrity gossip rags’ what not to wear pages, I pretty much disregarded the band as yet another actor trying to put his past behind him by forming a rock band with his brother. That is, until my brother sent me a YouTube link to their song “This Is War” which had been turned into a cool Whedonverse video paying homage to all of Joss Whedon’s projects up to, and including, the film Serenity. If you have never seen this video, you have to watch it. I was hooked.
30 Seconds To Mars was formed by Jared Leto and his brother Shannon in L.A. in 1998. Jared plays guitar and sings lead vocals, Shannon is the percussionist and Tomo Milicevic, a later addition to the group, plays lead guitar and keyboards. To date, they have released four studio albums and have sold over ten million albums worldwide. In 2011, they broke the Guinness World Record for the “longest concert tour by a rock band” by performing 309 concerts within a 2 year span. I can only imagine how many extra pages had to be added to their passports.
With their latest release, Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams, they continue to awe their fans with their raw lyrics, Jared’s guttural vocals and a really nifty album cover taken from a Damien Hirst dot painting. Produced by the iconic Steve Lillywhite, the album’s title is taken from the themes of each of the twelve songs included on this record. And in keeping with the Whedonverse image, the title reminds me a lot of a Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode (Faith, Hope and Trick, anyone?) while the songs have a distinct movie soundtrack sound to them.
“Up In The Air” was the first released single and has the distinction of also being the first commercial song sent into outer space when on March 1st it was launched aboard the Dragon Spacecraft on Space X CRS-2. That alone is worthy of a bad-ass rating. It is also the most downloaded song on iTunes from this album.
“Conquistador” is the best track on here. Jared Leto is a gifted, intense vocalist. He screams each word with passion, pain and aggression which makes me hope he drinks a lot of tea with honey since that can do some serious damage over time. I love the background chorus “we will, we will rise again” which just hover below the main vocal track and add an eerie ambiance.
“The Race” is another tune I really enjoyed, it could be a rally song or I could see it being played at half time during a ball game. The only distraction is that the lyrics are peppered with the word “Hey!” I counted at least fourteen instances of “Hey!” So much so that I wondered if Jared Leto actually pulled this from a “Duck Dynasty” Uncle Si quote.
“The End Of Days” is an electronica laden anthem with angry, gritty vocals. I could almost visualize this playing in a Highlander film.
Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams is a more experimental approach for 30 Seconds To Mars, incorporating heavy synthesizers and keyboards as opposed to their previous guitar laden albums. It is their jewel in the crown, the cherry on the sundae, the worm in the tequila and it goes down quite smoothly, thank you very much.