Nothing Is Gonna Spoil My Day Today is a truly infuriating record. The debut album from London trio Olympus Mons has its moments but unfortunately all of them are ruined by the fact that lead man Aaron just can’t sing.
This is a real shame because other than that, the Kaisers/Kooks/Maximo Park glottal stops over the punk energy guitars and drums works pretty well, but the sum of its parts isn’t enough to make you overlook its faults.
The band has a host of the smaller music industry accolades behind it. But none of that has translated into something that’s really worth listening to.
This is most apparent on the tracks where long intros or instrumental interludes give brief respite before the vocals ruin everything again. Journey Chapter VII is a perfect example of this, starting off by sounding quite interesting before the lyrics kick in and balls it all up. Starting off with a slightly more spoken word style offers some hope, though; a half-spoken Wombats style tale, the song is one of the album’s better moments.
At least their sound is distinctive. You can’t say Olympus Mons are bland, although neither do they sound original enough to be worthy of real perseverance. The fact that they’re not entirely worthy of being dismissed also makes them extremely irritating.
Listen hard and the New Romantic edges promised in the press release do fight through, while their obvious enthusiasm makes you want to like them. Production duties from Mark Plati, who has worked with Bowie, The Cure and Prince no doubt help out here, and with a bit of development this could work well as a direction to explore further in the future.
Ultimately, and sadly, Aaron sounds a bit too much like a karaoke attempt at Bryan Ferry for comfort and his fancy fretwork (check out Give Action Purpose and The Song Of Home in particular) will only save him from that if he focuses on it to the exclusion of the singing and hands the mic to someone else.
Olympus Mons’ songs are good. Delivered in 16 short bursts of indie-punk energy, they’re built on solid foundations and the lyrics would hold their own too, under different circumstances. But here and now the complete package just doesn’t quite work.