Let's Fly to Mars is a high-profile, long-term, cross-continental collaboration between Jeremy DeHart known primarily from The Aqualads, El Firetone from El Ray, Dr. Boris from Messer Chups, and Dane Carter from The Madeira. Jeremy lays out the story in detail in this post at SurfGuitar101 that I would highly recommend reading. Location is a strangely important thing in surf music -- certain styles tied to historic locales, and yet today the community communicates on a global scale. Surf releases were once guarded by costly import fees, now bandcamp makes releases more global. And now here we are, an album composed by members thousands of miles apart from each other -- not without difficulty but with a result that sounds as focused and genuine as any band with weekly rehearsals.
This is definitely a surf album, though the general feel is spacey, explorative and imaginative -- with bouts of serious intensity and gushing sparkle. Aside from the bands already mentioned, Space Cossacks and Tomorrowmen come to mind, but then you've also got a few that buck the spacey trend, like "Dirty Spurs" with sharp acoustic guitar that immediately puts you edge, boosted by aggressive guitar, boosted even further as it sweeps upwards. It's envigorating!
Jeremy gave me a sneak preview of this record a few months back, seeking feedback on the mix. It was already in a good enough place that I knew this album was going to turn heads, but it's been particularly fun hearing the subtle changes -- all of them good! "Autopilot Asphyxiation" is a drifting, spacey tune that took a while to find its place, but the atmospherics have been cranked up since I last heard it -- now you can loser yourself in the sound, rather than just feeling lost! "SRY", the first song I heard, has these punchy, tastefully reverbed snare drums that add some edge to a dreamy song. It's really come together well, with clarity and space between instruments and a bold presence overall.
A lot of effort went into this record and it shows. Simply put, if you listen to only a handful of surf records a year, this should be one of them.
Up on bandcamp and available on CD.
By the way, Jeremy is also currently drip-feeding songs from his surf/exotica project The Manakooras, worth a peep!