Sunset on Mars is the latest in a long line of solo albums (16 and counting since 1997) from Canadian musician, Terry Draper. Those of you with long memories will, of course, remember him from being the drummer in the band Klaatu, between 1973-82, during which time he’s also credited with having written ‘Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft’ for The Carpenters in the mid-seventies. When Klaatu folded he left music behind for several years until his first solo album, Light Years Later, was released in 1997.
Since then Draper’s forged a successful solo career for himself as a musician, regularly releasing albums, with himself playing all the instruments, with occasional assistance, comprising of commercially slanted but progressively tinged pop music. Title track ‘Sunset on Mars’ exemplifies this approach. It’s an atmospheric piece which wouldn’t be out of place on a later period Moody Blues album. It’s also the best track on the album. There’re a variety of influences at work here. ‘The Girl Next Door’ is pure Brian Wilson, ‘All of Our Days’ brings to mind Justin Hayward, while Terminus Politicus, with its theme of you can’t trust politicians, is the furrow Nick Beggs ploughs in The Mute Gods. Mostly, though, on this album Draper plays things safe. This is an album where everything is played straight down the middle, and only on ‘We All Fall Down’ does he express himself and let rip with a lengthy guitar break.
Essentially, this is an album containing songs which, for the most part, are easy to listen to and make no demands on the listener. It’s isn’t hard to believe Radio2 would have no problem featuring most of the tracks here in any daytime show. But, if you like your music to be a little more substantive, you’ll not find too much here. It’s well played and nice and all that, and the songs are mostly quite good but, against this, it doesn’t leave too much of a lasting impression.
Released January 17 2020 via TerryTunes Records.