Space March2018-08-28T12:08:43+00:00

Space March

Space March is the self-titled debut album which features a different kind of synthpop – one which mixes Beatlesque britpop with psychedelic synths, as well as vintage electric pianos, clavitones and organs.

Space March was critically well received scoring top spots in both the Chicago Reader’s ‘Best of 2004’ year-end list and New York’s Village Voice ‘Pazz & Jop’ poll.

The best selling tracks across all digital services are: I Am The Law, Dorian Gray and Teacher’s Crying. The cult favourite is King of Nothing.

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Reviews

Chicago Reader Best of 2004

Music critic, Ann Sterzinger, voted the debut Space March album #1 in the Chicago Reader “Best Of 2004” – a special year-end newspaper supplement, as well as New York’s: The Village Voice – “Pazz & Jop” 2004 Poll.

THE BEST OF 2004

Craig Simmons of the bouncy Australian synth-pop duo Electrosquad has released a surprisingly somber solo album that mixes the Magnetic Fields, Erasure, and a dollop of Momus.

Publication: Chicago Reader
Issue: 1 January 2005
Reviewer: Ann Sterzinger

bestof2004_CR3

Indieville Review

Space March is the synth-pop project of musician Craig Simmons, who is very gifted at crafting endlessly listenable, hook-filled ballads using only his voice and his doubtlessly complex set-up of electronic sound-makers and acoustic instruments. While the modern synth/electronic-pop scene is a relatively underground phenomenon nowadays, it is of very high quality – given a bit more attention, I could see a band like Space March really finding a large audience. This type of hook-laden, obsessively melodic pop would really fly well with indie fans.

The greatness of this album is best exemplified by “King of Nothing,” a beautiful pop tune filled with glistening synths and an electronic-orchestral background. This is how pop music should sound. But it doesn’t stop there. The Terminator-like melodies of “Conspiracy” are a revelation – as a song, it sounds like it belongs as the theme song to an eighties movie of some sort. Its Simple Minds-esque approach is sure to bring a smile to anyone’s face.

What makes this album so great is the absence of any bad parts. Every single tune on this disc is worthy of multiple listens, so there isn’t anything you have to skip over. Even the less memorable tunes like “Dorian Gray” and “Going Nowhere” stand up well over time, never becoming anything near boring.

It is rare that I dole out scores in the nineties, but this album has earned that honour perfectly. I wasn’t expecting to like Space March at all, but after two listens I couldn’t help myself. If you thought synth-pop was over, guess again.

Rating: 90%

Publication: Indieville
Issue: February 23rd, 2004
Reviewer: Matt Shimmer

100% Unnatural Review

In a pop scene rife with adolescent angst, ghetto rage, and naked lust, you got to admire any artist who dares to be as mature, intelligent, and quietly introspective as Craig Simmons (former half of the Australian synthpop duo Electrosquad) is on Space March. Rather than affecting a phony teenage sneer, Simmons confronts the creeping demons of age (“All the portraits on the wall / They had changed, not me at all”), loss, and regret (“I remember when things were normal / And the story had no end…”) with appropriately mellow reserve. While it may not appeal to kids looking for another hit of musical adrenaline, Space March will satisfy those seeking more than just a cheap thrill.

Which isn’t to say that Space March doesn’t rock. Dispensing with the Erasure-worship of Electrosquad’s debut Espionage and the John Barry spy-movie-soundtrack ambitions of their follow-up Operation K, Space March is as straightforward a rock record as any album based primarily on synthesizers and samples can be. There’s even some bluesy guitar on “Big Joe” and a bit of wanky, rockstar organ soloing towards the end of “Normal” – which would be unforgivable coming from John Spencer or Dave Matthews, but is a refreshing display of musicianship for a synthpop act.

And, next to the lyrics, that’s the best thing about Space March – the musicianship. Too many electronic bands grow so infatuated with the technical aspect of their craft that their music has more in common with COBOL and C++ than rhythm and blues. Not so with Space March: Beatle-isms abound throughout the record, from the twisting sitars on the brief “Prelude” to the walking blues riff and cynical-yet-whimsical lyrics (“Like a mouse on a wheel / my progress is hard to see”) on “Breathe” that seem lifted from a John Lennon solo album. And even the tracks that skate closer to trip-hop and synthpop (“King of Nothing”, “Teacher’s Crying”) remain dedicated to the concept of three chords and a tune.

In all fairness, Space March probably isn’t the best introduction to Simmons’ sharp songwriting and synthesizer skills (that distinction still belongs to Operation K). Of the ten songs here, only “Dorian Gray” and “Conspiracy” have the energy and panache of his earlier work. However, anyone who’s already tuned into Simmons’ quirky wavelength, and is willing to sit still through the unhurried build-up, will quickly come to appreciate Space March’s finer points.

Rating: 8(of 10)

Publication: 100% Unnatural – The Poptronica Webzine
Issue: September 2003
Reviewer: Emil Hyde

Splendid Review

Space March is the appropriately titled solo project from Craig Simmons, he of Australian synth pop duo ElectroSquad. On the obscure side to most, Simmons has made a mark on the electonic pop scene and continues to provide subversive goodies to its rabid niche of followers without the aid of marketing budgets and promotion. Space March represents a divergence from the synth pop model, delivering a parallel blend of catchy songwriting and machine-aided construction while adding enough humanness to cross over to audiences that still sniff when they hear the name “Depeche Mode”.

While Space March could have been written on a Mac and Cubase setup, it plays like a rock album. Forgoing bleep bloop symmetry and a plastic finish, Simmons simulates a team of session players with authentic drum kits and basslines that take his one-man productions beyond their usual territory and into a land of electronically-informed space rock. There are even some guitar chops here, showing off a range of sparse plucking, meandering leads and beefy chord progressions; it’s all very complimentary to an engaging, elusive sound that falls somewhere in the realm of Beatlesque Britpop via Spiritualized psychedelia.

Simmons has a clean, pleasant voice, which he uses to great effect. On tracks such as “Normal”, he surrounds his wry lyrics with swirling Leslie-inflected Hammond organs, jaunty guitar and slighty distorted blues piano riffs. “I Am The Law”, a highlight, marries a delightfully repetitious chorus to a sleek groove and a mind-altering sonic squiggle. “Going Nowhere” delves deeper into organ-centric pastures, romping within an ’80s sheen, replete with female moans and an irresistible whistle call-and-response. “Dorian Grey” is another standout, featuring percolating rhythms and spiraling analog sequences that recall OMD.

Space March never pushes the heavy-handedness meter into the red; Simmons prefers to invite us in with direct and functional frameworks driven by unaffected, starry-eyed melody and spectral opiates. Whether it’s a case of stretching his limits or giving his music some meaty lift, he does a great job of taking the focus away from his electronic elements while delivering some really engaging material in the space rock continuum. If there’s a complaint, it’s that Space March hits its creative ceiling about halfway through, which explains the album’s somewhat samey quality. Then again, Simmons’s core sound is so successful from the get-go that a little familiarity doesn’t do much harm.

Publication: Splendid
Issue: December 11th, 2003
Reviewer: Walt Miller

Synthpop.NET Review

This is the new side-project for 1/2 of the (now defunct) band Electrosquad, Craig Simmons. The cd finds him exploring even more of the mid-to-late sixties influences in his music, while remaining true to the synthetic core of his sound. You’re probably going to get tired of reading this, but I find a much more prominent mid-to-late Beatles influence in the music now. However, unlike the last Electrosquad album, in which the direction really served to annoy me, I found myself really enjoying the unique approach taken here.

The best word I can think of to describe several of these songs is… groovy. They certainly have groove to them, and I often find myself just kicking back and letting the music flow. “Dorian Gray” is easily the best song of the bunch. I’ve loved this song since I first heard it. It immediately seems like you are familiar with this song.. and yet it’s all-new. “I Am The Law” is a neat song that speaks to how government and media, etc shape our lives. It’s also the only time the Australian accent is really noticeable, with a extra r-sound tacked onto “law”. “Teacher’s Crying” is one of those ballads that can stay with you for days.. uber-catchy chorus coupled with depressing lyrics yield a unforgettable song. “Merry Go Round” has a really cool intro – the best compliment I can pay it is that it forms a picture of a Merry-Go-Round in my mind instantly. A great track.

While this album may not be for all tastes, it’s really a excellent achievement in electronic pop music, and you really should give it a try! Highly Recommended!

Rating: 4.5 stars out 5

Publication: Synthpop.NET
Date: March 2nd, 2004
Reviewer: Jason Baker

Lyrics

Instrumental

French female sample translates to:
“That’s not right, no?”

I’m not normal
I’m not you
I’m just a fraction of my former youth
But that’s okay
Because I found something too

I’m not normal
I’m quite mad
First I’m happy and the next I’m sad
But that’s okay
Because you need lightness and the shade

I remember when things were normal
And the story had no end
And I hope that things will be simple
Once again

What is normal?
What is true?
My frame of reference is different to you
So tell me now
Can we be certain of the truth?

I’m half normal
For just a while
I can reach to the other side
But it just passes
As sure as the night fall follows day

I am the law
This is the truth
I administer justice
Just for you
Will you believe me?
Mythical dream
Circular scene
Running green
With monsters after me
Can you receive me?

I keep running away
Running all day
Running down
And always on the run
It’s never ending
I keep running away
Running all day
Running down
And always on the run
There’s no pretending

I am the law
This is the truth
I am the law

I am the news
This is the truth
I’m the face of knowledge
Just for you
Will you believe me?
Radical plan
Cynical man
Final stand
With nothing to decide
There’s no pretending

I am the church
This is the truth
I control salvation
Just for you
Won’t you believe me?
Chemical fear
Travelling near
Standing here
While others pass you by
It’s never ending

I’m going nowhere
Most of the time
I’m a liquor store
Without any wine
I’m the colour red
But I feel so blue
I’m a mastermind
With nothing to do

I’m a fatal error
That has no effect
I’m a might power
That has no respect
I’m a super sleuth
With no crimes to solve
I’m a higher form
But I haven’t evolved

I’m going nowhere
And nowhere will I go
I’m moving forwards
In reverse
And if I ever tried
You know I’m going to lose
I’m going nowhere
It’s no use

I’m a super model
But I look half dead
I’m a serial killer
But I seem like a friend
I’m a wealthy man
In a poor man’s shoes
I’m the whole universe
In a cup of soup

I’m going nowhere
Most of the day
I’m a prostitute
But I never get laid
I’m a miracle cure
Without a disease
I’m a billboard sign
That nobody sees

I’m going nowhere
Without any wine
I’m a liquor store
Most of the time
I’m a fatal error
That has no respect
I’m a might power
That has no effect

I am the King
Of Nothing
I’m the face
Of obscurity
I am a place
You’ve never been
I’m a shadow
In between

When you fall down
I stand up
You turn around
But I’m never there
I make no sound
I give no sign
Of how it is
That you may find

Some meaning now
Some simple truths
A reason for this
I can not dispute

Yes, I am the king
Of nothing
Yet, I am the same
As everything
I am the son
Of royalty’s blood
But I am the same
As everyone

I feel bare
When I see you
I stop and stare
But I can not speak
I feel shame
And I feel love
Of all the things
I haven’t done.

My meaning’s lost
No simple truths
A reason for this
I can not dispute

I am the King
Of Nothing
I went to war
But I never won
I am the son
Without love
I’m the King
Of Nothing

He spent a long while doing time
For a big job that went all wrong
He was set up bad and double crossed
Until one day….
Uncle Jim came and broke him out
To seek revenge and travel south
And they all will pay now
And they will remember

You better start preparing
You better raise a warning
You better have the goods this time
The movers and the shakers
Are soon to meet their maker
Big Joe is mad and back in town

You better watch your back
You better dump the cash
Big Joe is back!
You better watch your back
You better dump the cash
Big Joe is… back!

She spent a long time on her own
Waiting for Joe to come and take her home
Until she fell for Father James one Sunday
Joe found out and lost his mind
How could his wife be so unkind
And the demon inside
It took control that Monday

You better start explaining
You better stop complaining
You better grab your things and run
The lovers and deceivers
The sinners and believers
Are soon to meet their judgement day

Once again on his own
No friends, wife or stately home
Just bitter thoughts in a foreign land
And money…

You better start preparing
You better raise a warning
You better have the goods this time
You better not upset him
And never do forget him
With Joe revenge always pays

The moment that you wake up
I’m the image in your mind
The idea in your head
And the shadow from behind
I’m the thing that makes you guilty
I’m the thing that makes you buy
I offer you temptation
And you know you can’t deny
I’m the substance in your food
I’m a chemical in your blood
I feed all your addictions
And deliver you your drugs
I create all your frustrations
I build upon your stress
I satisfy your greed
And take away your best

I am your single currency
Your never ending debt
An impression of democracy
To hide away the rest
I’m your quintessential yearning
I’m the lust that’s in your eye
I’m your sexual perversion
You know you can’t deny
I’m the source of your morality
I’m the basis of your fears
I silence all your questioning
I’m honest and sincere
When I say to you
You have no choice
No freedom to defend
Your only aspirations
Are idle in your head

All the portraits on the wall
They had changed, not me at all
All the faces start to fade
No one wants to see how much they age
Look at me I’m one success
Look inside, I’m just a mess
Everything might seem okay
The picture tells like Dorian Gray

Dorian Gray
Don’t show my pain
I think you’ve had
Quite enough to say

Mirrored beaches in the sun
Perfect figures having fun
Everybody lives the lie
No one wants to see the ugly side
Building castles in the sand
Writing songs of no demand
There’s nothing left for me to say
The picture tells like Dorian Gray

All the colours turn to grey
All the faces start to fade
And my vision now begins to blur

Peel away this shallow mask
Open up my sordid past
I’m not the man of yesterday
The picture tells like Dorian Gray
I’m not the man of yesterday
The picture tells like Dorian Gray

Now I am here
I’m not feeling so well
The things I all love
Are not good for my health
Some people I know
Are not very kind to me
(oh why can’t they see)

The pressure they make
Is getting me down
I need a break
With no one around
I need to escape
I need to revive and breathe

You’re coming
Down, down, down upon me
You got to let me breathe
And give me some relief
Down, down, down upon me
You’ve got to let me breathe

You really think
You know what is best
You think I am lazy
Don’t need any rest
I’m not a fool
I’ve seen it all before
(don’t say anymore)

This time I’ll try
To even the score
But a thousand attempts
Have failed before
Like a mouse on a wheel
The progress is hard to see

We never learn
And we always pretend
We make our mistakes
And we make them again
I try to forget
You’re doing harm to me

Brothers in arms
Children with guns
Chaos in hand
The power of one
Boredom sets in
Violence breaks out
Trouble begins to
the sound of a crowd

Can’t go to school
Cause the teacher’s crying
Can’t stay away
Cause she’ll know I’m lying
It’s so hard
It’s so cruel

Jenny found love
Johnny got laid
Sally went down
Sally got paid
Susan got drunk
Just a while
Long enough
Her first child

Some do drugs
Some smoke weed
Some find God
Some never believe
The room is black
The mood is down
Depression it seems
Is all around

Nothing to learn
Nothing but facts
Read a while
Then spit it back
Condition the mind
Remove all flaws
Don’t ask why
Just reach a score

Caught on a merry-go-round
I can’t understand
This spinning around
I wanted to stop
This merry-go-round
I want to get off now

Somehow this feeling never shows
Crowds of people come and go
But they never understand me
You see the question has no sign
A moving space without a time
Another world to believe in

Lost in thrill of the ride
No sense of place
Or passing of time
No way to stop
This circular ride
I want to be still now

Somehow this feeling never shows
Crowds of people come and go
But they never understand me
Sometimes I can not comprehend
No beginning and no end
This world we revolve in
(we evolve in)

Caught on a merry-go-round
My eyes are a blur
From spinning around
How can I stop
This merry-go-round
From taking control now?

Info

Chronology: Album 1
Released (AU): 2 June 2003
Released (US): 19 January 2004
Labels: Hark Records / Ninthwave Records
Production: All tracks written, performed and produced by Craig Simmons.
Mastered by Brian Hazard at Resonance Mastering.
Art & design by Craig Simmons.