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Mars Volta, The - Frances The Mute
Label: Universal
Release: 2005

Cygnus... Vismund Cygnus
The Widow
L'via L'viaquez
Miranda, That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore
Cassandra Gemini

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Average Blamo User Rating: (81 votes)

Music of the unmarketable kind; why do bands do it? Your flashbacks of holding your first guitar, posing in front of your mirror, imagining the scores of money, drugs, and women that would follow the fame you believed you could attain. The mainstream is peppered with many bands that match my description above; they’ve made it. Whether spending years on underground circuits, forcing themselves not to “sell out,” before becoming the fixation of the media, or, just releasing Pop music with guitars since their bands inception. Either way, The Mars Volta does not fit into either of these two categories. Likewise, putting The Mars Volta into any category or genre doesn’t do them justice; they are simply all over the place; heated jazzy breakdowns to acoustic-tinkled opening sections, pigeonholing them would be a crime.

Frances The Mute sees the band continue with the style they used to push Deloused In The Comatorium into an album of sheer brilliance. In short, Rodriguez and Zavala are still a hefty force to reckon with. Rodriguez’s guitar work is perhaps the pinnacle of the album, showcasing many styles, in some cases, in the course of one song. Reason being, many of these songs, with the exception of “The Widow,” are over 10 minutes long. Before long, song titles and separate tracks seem unimportant. The songs continue to switch gear so quickly and flawlessly that you’d be assed to name which song you were listening to at the moment. The Mars Volta exerts the power of the album, not the individual song.

“The Widow,” the albums shortest track, clocking in at just 5:57 showcases the awesome power that is Cedric Zavala’s vocal capability. Conjuring a startlingly emotional voice that would make Jeff Buckley proud, Zavala rifts through the track like he was crooning an R&B number. Sadly, the song falls short due to an ending of rather bizarre, random noise.

Perhaps the random noise of the intros and outros are the only downfall of the album. At times they greatly take away from a song (The Widow), yet at other times the effects can turn out brilliantly. For instance, “Miranda, The Ghost Just Isn’t Holy Anymore,” features an intro of crackling and random sound that adds great atmosphere to the already very powerful song and builds up the tension to the song.

“L’via L’viaquez,” is saturated with a very Latin influenced beat and feel. Cedric Zavala sings most of the song in Spanish, which works immensely well with the backdrop the band provide, especially since they change styles so quickly; at one moment they go on an incredibly fast trip of fast and precise playing that would make Dillenger Escape Plan smile, then to show that they can, they just as easily drift into a smaller sounding acoustic laced sections.

Words really do this record no justice at all. Unlike other bands descriptions, I could write for two more pages and you still wouldn’t have a clue what this band sounds like if you haven’t heard them before. If you liked “Deloused...,” this is an essential addition to your library.

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