From supporting actor to rock and roll leading man, Jared Leto has twisted the braids of fame better than most starlets who've dared jump from movies to music. His band 30 Seconds to Mars (founded with drumming brother Shannon) is currently busy polishing the platinum status of its sophomore disc, 2005's A Beautiful Lie.
The actual music is a run-of-the-mill mishmash of Fall Out Boy-like pop-punk and moody balladeering à la the Cure. Leto does have a set of howling pipes, but the album's singles ("Attack" and "The Kill") overembrace the feckless, MTV emocore that is all the rage right now. It's when the band spreads its Martian wings -- slowing it down, speeding it up, or just crashing into bridges -- that the music rises above average. Granted, even the spasmodic-guitar-itch of "The Fantasy" is still boilerplate gloom-rock. But if the Letos can get over poster-boy status and concentrate on sonic exploration (not unlike Jared's roles in "Fight Club" and "Requiem for a Dream"), 30 Seconds to Mars might have a sequel worth a sold-out theater.