Making a good reunion record is tough: There has to be a special ingredient, a solvent to rinse away the dust and ennui. Zolar X, a glam band fond of the color green, My Favorite Martian, and the wardrobe closets of Barbarella, have their solution: Pretend to be aliens. “A human band from the ’70s will often get back together and fall on their faces. . . . In contrast, Zolar X are Plutonian Elves,” claim the liner notes to X Marks the Spot, the first we’ve heard of them since Alternative Tentacles pushed their old recordings into the digital age three years ago.
While these guys may look and read too twee for belief, when the guitar roars out of your speakers with a whoosh and a mighty crunch, Zolar X have your attention. “Saucers on Sunset” sounds like big amps, platform shoes, and glitter in Hollywood, hoping for a shot opening for Bowie at the Civic Center in Santa Monica. To sing the lyrics to “Astro Tots”—about playing with dolls and not giving up your ship—takes an inner steel not all of us have. However, fearless leader Ygarr Ygarrist does, delivering Ziggy and Mick Ronson minus the tinkly piano player, but with the chugging rhythm section of a metal band. An old photo of the band in the liner notes is simply captioned “Huh?”, and not everyone gets it—they were kicked off The Next Great American Band, ears ringing with gratuitous insults. But when you’re banging your head to the anthemic guitar riff, Keith Moon drumming, and elfin pop vocals of “A Moment in Time,” this will all make sense.