MARS ATTACKS!

There is a wind-up alien on the cover.

The title is Attack Of The Martians.

No record label; it was self-produced in 2004.

Eccentric Orbit is the name of the band.

They come from planet Synth.

 

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This intriguing CD was part of a recent haul, a whim-purchase based on half the quartet playing electric keyboards… and the titles of the pieces.

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There was no way on Earth that I was going to pass over an album containing a fourteen minute suite inspired by Forbidden Planet, one of my favourite films (and soundtracks) in the entire multi-verse.

And Attack Of The Martians delivers, brilliantly. This is analogue synth-based progressive music dripping 70s sensibilities and textures. Over a solid rhythmic foundation provided by bassist and composer Bill Noland and drummer Mark Cella, synthonauts Madeleine Noland (probably related) and Derek Roebuck weave interesting melodies into shapes that would make Rick Wakeman smile.

It made me smile too, a delicious blend of synthesisers, organ, clavinet, wind-synth, Fender Rhodes and more. It is truly infectious, good-humoured and well-played, with shifting rhythms, carefully chosen keyboard timbres and a forward momentum that rarely slacks off.

One important part of the Eccentric Orbit sound is the influence of film music. The three-part suite “Attack of the Martians” has sections that sound totally in thrall to early sixties sci-fi (and that’s a compliment!) dancing with parts that can only be described as synth-jazz-rock. It is such great fun, I’ve hardly stopped spinning it.

The alien on the cover of Attack Of The Martians may be hiding a ray gun behind its back, but this weapon is loaded with happy juice.

The band themselves are a terrestrial quartet hailing from Massachusetts (where the lights all went out, once upon a time). Their web page reveals significant line-up changes since this 2004 debut, and a second album. And the good news is that a re-issue of Attack Of The Martians occurred in 2014, with a bonus track to boot! Both albums are available at their bandcamp page.

The sad news is that Eccentric Orbit is no longer a celestial body. Bill Noland reports that although they sold a viable number of the debut, by the time of the second CD, that format was rapidly declining in popularity. The harsh economics of the music biz meant that the band packed it in.

But to cheer you up, here is a delightful video (from the band’s second album) capturing both the sound and the humour of Eccentric Orbit. Prog Humanoids will delight in a galaxy of in-jokes.

Enjoy.

 

 

20 comments

  1. Well, that was fun! Don’t know where these guys rhode in from, my mind’s in a wurlitzer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lift-off! All good organic fun, eh Robert?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. aussiebyrdbrother · · Reply

    Glad that album found a good home, Bruce! Wish it was my home, but all good! 😉 Great write up, and I’m sure the band would be excited to see their music getting some nice attention.

    I recall many years ago I posted a review for their superb second album for the Prog Archives site, right here (and at the time I heard that their keyboard player was thrilled to be referred to as a `keyboard princess’, haha):

    http://www.progarchives.com/Review.asp?id=1340988

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The CD re-issue has a 10′ bonus track, Michael!

      Love your review of album #2.

      Like

  3. Absolute fabulous Bruce! What a delight to stumble across a happy little oddity like this.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It really is, Joe. Brightens up a dismal winter, it does.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh, yes! That tickled my nostalgia circuits immensely.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😀
      (Up our analogue alley, eh Phil?)

      Like

  5. Love it! Have passed on to a synth-loving pal

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great! Spread the word!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Is ‘synthonaut’ your coinage? Love it. Looks as though the Nolands are husband and wife, both graduates of the University of Massachusetts. Interesting: she hasn’t left tech/synth behind…she works in R&D for LG Electronics. That wind-up alien is duplicitous: bearing a beribboned box when viewed from the front, but a laser gun when viewed from the rear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure it was studying German that gave me a taste for inventing compound words.

      Your research skills are on the money, JDB. Had an email exchange with Bill Norland, wherein he confirmed Madelaine was his spouse. Sad that he also confirmed the demise of the band, but as you have discovered, meaningful occupation is in evidence.
      And yes, it is a sneaky little alien, isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cool that you communicated with Norland! Did he see your post and contact you? And yes, die Deutschen are masters of compound nouns!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The Eccentric Orbit web site had a Contact email and we took it from there. Nice chap, very helpful. Seemed philosophical about the end of the band.

          Like

    1. A scrumptious meal of synths, CB!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. An all you can eat synth smorg with a side of sci fi deliciousness! How’s that ?

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I enjoy that there’s not one, but two song suites! Sounds promising – and the enemy of my enemy is a neat title too

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks to bringing this to our attention!

    Liked by 1 person

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