January 23, 2006

The Best of 2005: #3

#3: The Mars Volta - Frances the Mute
Preface: Before I started this blog I always had trouble putting my thoughts about my music into words. I like to think I've been getting better since my first entry, but all of that is about to change. When I started this blog in December I knew the time would come when I had to use words to describe Frances the Mute. I have been dreading this review the entire time. Anyone who has heard The Mars Volta before should know why I'm going to have trouble with this.

I'm not going to sugar coat this for you, I'm going to come right out and say it. The Mars Volta is the Pink Floyd of our generation. Taking progressive rock to a whole new level, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala don't make their music to obey the laws of labels. You never know what's coming next in Frances the Mute. They can calm you down with a smooth melody for 10 minutes just before they send you on a brain melting musical journey. Though Frances consists of 12 tracks, it is really a 5 piece musical concept album. Aside from the 6 minute "The Widow", the other pieces are anywhere from 12 to 24 minutes long. The highlight is, without question, "L'Via L'Viaquez". The 12 minute masterpiece that goes by too quickly combines salsa rhythms keeping with their Latino roots with their messed up innovative sense of technical jazz. Including two John Frusciante guitar solos helps with the transition from salsa to rock throughout the song. After the distorted ending to "L'Via L'Viaquez", Frances the Mute starts full throttle into the extremely intense "Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore". Don't let the lovely chirping birds fool you, this piece will make you hold on to your seat (she can bat a broken eyelid/raining maggots from it's sty/and with the traces that she leaves/she will skin you out alive). "Cassandra Geminni" is the closing piece that builds to the climatic ending that, oddly enough ends with the same quiet track that the album starts with, "Sarcophagi". With Flea from Red Hot Chilli Peppers adding his jazz input with the trumpet, Omar ripping one jagged guitar solo after another, Jon Theodore drumming with 3 arms, and Cedric singing with as much passion as a man can, The Mars Volta make one of the best albums to push the limits in a time when limits rule the music industry.

Epilogue: Frances the Mute is not for the weak of heart. I would suggest listening to some before going out and getting it. Let me know if you want a taste. If you're looking to get your dig on with an epic album that has no boundaries and is not afraid to fuse jazz/metal/prog into one musical masterpiece, then spark one up, put your headphones on, and let this album rock you like nothing you've ever heard . If not, I would suggest staying away.


Serenity said...

I would suggest staying away. Even though they "push the limits" that the music industry has established, I'm not sure the limits crossed were ones that should have been. I can see where you can call them the Pink Floyd of our generation but Pink Floyd has an easier sound to handle and Mars Volta is not a sound that agrees with me. Additionally, I would have liked to see Bright Eyes father up on the list...(:

Anonymous said...

i think a turkey sandwhich is best served toasted.... but thats just me.

Anonymous said...

you are so wierd

Anonymous said...