Concept albums were the glorious novelties of the mid-40s with the street, busking folk musicians, and were soon to become heavily popularised, globally, in the mid-60s with the likes of Pet Sounds and Sgt. Pepper. But now musicians, with the minutest knowledge of music theory, challenge themselves to create the new, groundbreaking concept album. Instead, the majority of these new age concept musicians perplex their listeners with overly flamboyant material, like Ela Orleans here.
Inspired by Bradbury's Mars Is Heaven(1948), which tells the tale of astronauts finding a utopian life on another planet, this new release is as zany as the book’s idea itself. Orleans finds herself doing a poor disfavour to the notion of a concept album, creating an array of uneasy moments of listening over the course of the LP. With a march-like, hip-hop drum beat traversing the entire piece, guided by a mildly played organ and one-note, simpleton piano, the commencing track “Black and White Flight” beckons a ringing ear-ache – too painful and, perhaps, too soon.
It's evident that the Polish-born artist is rather studious of the late-60s psychedelic movement and industrial Krautrock. “Mars Is Heaven Part Two” has early-70s inspirations conspicuously written all over it. Kudos for being arty and expressionistic, but from an intellectual point of view, the attempt at a jazzy Mahavishnu Orchestra drumming, swaying from side-to-side is too ardent for the overall calibre of the album.
If Brooklyn, the capital of Indie-rock, had influenced the European musician in any way at all, it was surely reflected in “Wonderful Us”; clustered with dream-pop, reverberated vocals which become the forefront of a multitudinously instrumental, surf-rock opus. But all ‘n’ all, one mildly-fashionable composition doesn’t redeem a whole collective of clumsy attempts to generate something alternative in the scene. The demise of her creativity is more predictable than a positive comeback.