Sounds from Mars? Almost, try Mississippi

Record Charlie Mars

Artist Charlie Mars

Label V2 Records

3 out of 5 stars

His last name may be Mars, but he’s not quite out of this world-not yet, at least.

In fact, he’s from Mississippi. They like to drink in Mississippi. And, apparently, fall in love and fight.

These are recurrent themes on Charlie Mars’ self-titled major-label debut.

He sounds like a mix of a Wallflower and a Goo Goo Doll trying hard to be Bono.

Mars’ songs are memorable, the type you wake up to reverberating in your head even when the CD player is off. But, there’s nothing amazing about his debut. Each song is solid, few falter, but almost none-save the album-opening rally cry “Gather the Horses,” and maybe the tonal “White Out”-are capable of standing out in a respectable singer/songwriter crowd.

Mars has potential for greatness, but he’s just getting those training wheels off his pop bicycle.

Major-label distribution happened fast for Mars, and it’s apparent he’s not quite ready for it. Maybe after a few more at-bats, this boy from a one-horse town will knock one over the fences.

Eryn Green