Album Reviews


Mars Volta

Frances The Mute  Hear it Now

RS: 4of 5 Stars Average User Rating: 4.5of 5 Stars


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In a big-riff age when punk is pop, in the worst fizzy-drink sense, and most heavy metal is as wild as a night at home playing Grand Theft Auto, the Mars Volta's second album is an exhilarating transgression: concussive, nonlinear rhythms; mad-dog guitar algebra; bloody-nightmare suites sung in bilingual free verse. In short, the beastly spawn of Radiohead's OK Computer and Rush's 2112. The only word singer-lyricist Cedric Bixler-Zavala and guitarist-producer Omar Rodriguez-Lopez don't care to understand, in any tongue, is compromise. The furious horror of Frances the Mute (a pun on Fifties-screwball-comedy film star Francis the Talking Mule) is only part fiction. Bixler-Zavala's images of flayed skin and maggot rain were inspired by a diary found in a car by band member Jeremy Ward: an orphan's story of the search for his biological parents. It is easy to hear the band's own anguish, too (Ward died in 2003, of a drug overdose), in Rodriguez-Lopez's homicidal guitar seizures and Bixler-Zavala's high, wrenched tenor -- the closest thing in post-rock to Robert Plant's banzai-blues wail in Led Zeppelin. The album's excessive earphone theater and contrary mood jolts (like the Cuban-jazz languor in "L'Via L'Viaquez") may make you impatient. But in both the terse fire of "The Widow" (5:50) and the thrilling eternity of "Cassandra Gemini" (32:32), the Mars Volta show off an intensity of focus -- on hooks that kill and the cleansing powers of thundering whiplash -- that will drive your devils from the room as you're pinned to the wall.


(Posted: Feb 24, 2005) Icon Photo Add to   digg Photo DiggThis  



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Review 1 of 4

Myxomatosis writes:

5of 5 Stars

I Heart the mars volta

May 25, 2007 20:14:13

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Review 2 of 4

cannon5150 writes:

5of 5 Stars

Like like a mind manipulating schema for the mathematically lame brain child of Rush, Zeppelin, and Santana's still born... from an acid overdose of salsa and jazz. This album's amazing concept will haunt your brain for days and maybe even years to the point it never gets old. I cannot listen to just one song... if it comes on it is religiously played out until it is completed. Every member in the bad puts his heart and blood into the mix, and the outcome is something meaningful. How can band's like this be overlooked? Amazing.

May 18, 2007 08:48:03

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Review 3 of 4

MagaDeOz writes:

5of 5 Stars

Dios mio... es que es perfecto, no puedo decir otra cosa, es perfecto. The Mars volta es lo mejor que a salido despues del 2000!!! No me canzo de repetirlo! Me demonstrĂ³ que el Rock no a muerto!!! Oda a The Mars volta!!

Jun 7, 2006 17:29:24

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Review 4 of 4

Erinncats writes:

5of 5 Stars

Frances the Mute is a musical adventure. It is the best album of 2005 by far. It's great to see bands pushing the boundaries. Buy this album and enjoy the ride!

Jun 7, 2006 03:03:48

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