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30 Seconds To Mars - 'Closer To The Edge'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:16 UK time, Saturday, 17 July 2010

30 Seconds To Mars

Some people are irony-proof. What they do is so incredibly sincere, so untroubled by the possibility that they might come across as a bit of a soppy fool, that they're practically invulnerable. Your mocking laughter can't hurt them, it doesn't even exist on the same plane of experience as what they are attempting to do. There is just the moment, the person, and the purity of what they are saying, untainted by any form of self-consciousness whatsoever.

So when 30 Seconds To Mars make videos as if they a miniature movies - with credits and everything - and put in little philosophical vox-pops from the fans who've just seen them live (all incredibly sincere people, all blown away by what they've just experienced) it's because they really mean it. When the same video depicts a pink-mohicanned Jared Leto walking among his band like a God among men, it's not something you can easily sneer away to one side.

The Secs don't have Muse's giggle-clause, where they go beyond histrionics and enormity into an area which is as funny as it is amazing. They always pull back from anything too silly, preferring to linger within the passionate epic hugeness where, even though it's hard to believe anyone can ever mean anything as much as Jared seems to want us to know that he MEANS IT - including Plan B - it's even harder to believe that they're fakers.

(Here's the video. It's not a movie. It's a pop video.)

Now, I'll let you into a little secret about reviewers. We none of us believe we have the power to influence events. Not really. We may express how music lands on us for a living, but you'd have to be a little bit of a mirrorkisser to think a few snarky comments can stop a good record from reaching the audience it deserves.

Watching the 30 Seconds To Mars video, in which there are so many self-aggrandising moments which normally I'd be railing against, and hearing the overblown, overbig, overwhelming music, well it just reiterates that point.

It doesn't matter what I think about this song - for the record, it's not exactly my cup of tea, but not bad for anthemic arena rock. A kind of Bon Jovi in (even more) eyeliner - because standing to the side of the passionate interface between this massively sincere band and their devoted audience and lobbing spitballs at both is not a very nice thing to do.

And if that sounds like a coward's way out of saying that this is just U2's 'Where The Streets Have No Name' with a better chorus and more shouting, which makes calling it 'Closer To The Edge' into something of an astonishing conceptual joke...well, it is.

Three starsDownload: Out now

BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

Rocklouder says: "You can't help but love the band just that little bit more."

Overrating The Underrated says: "I really, really like this track and it runs 'Night of the Hunter' close for the best track on 'This Is War'."

Bring Back The Boom Box says: "Harder, faster track that showcase[s] how good this band can be."



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