Seventy-eight days before the release of Thirty Seconds to Mars fourth LP, Love Lust Faith and Dreams, a countdown and a blast off debuted the album’s first single “Up in the Air.” Literally. On March 1st the Falcon 9 rocket launched a copy of the song, along with precious scientific cargo and goods, to the International Space Station.
Once you’ve listened to the album this brand of fanfare makes sense. It’s forty-four minutes of giant sound—guitars, keyboards, even a cello and a violin hoisted to astronomical crescendo through heavy, synthesized vibration. At times the amalgamation is reminiscent to the soundtrack of a high-budget science fiction film. I closed my eyes and saw Darth Vader one minute into “Pyres of Varanasi.”
The album is broken up into four thematic parts. Love includes “Birth” and “Conquistador” Lust begins with “Up in the Air” then goes to “City of Angels” to “The Race” and concludes with “End of All Days” Faith consists of “Pyres of Varanasi,” “Bright Lights,” and “Do or Die” Dreams is comprised of the final three tracks “Convergence,” “Northern Lights,” and “Depuis Le Début” Each section is introduced by a breathy, female voice.
For the first time on this album Jared Leto, who formed the band with his brother in 1998, took a leading role in production. The collaboration with renowned producer Steven Lilywhite is full of bold experimentation and seasoned cohesion. All that booming, heavy, symphonic rock is measured and articulated carefully. Lilywhite’s style is recognizable (think The Killers newest album), and combined with Leto’s enthusiasm for experimentation and larger than life resonance, the music is undeniably affecting.
From the ominous start at “Birth” to the bright strings and synthesized beats in “The Race” to the discernible pop of “Bright Lights” and through the dramatic up and downs of “Depuis Le Début” Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams is a twisty, stentorian ride.