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The Mars Volta - Frances the Mute CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

4.07 | 1007 ratings

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3 stars So who is Mars Volta's biggest influence???

".everyone's always throwing Led Zeppelin at us. But if we're going to own up to anything, it's Syd Barrett's influence. I can't even think of how much he's influenced what we do. I always dug his guitar playing and I loved his lyrics. His music, especially his solo albums, those really did it for me. They made me want to make songs like that. Syd Barrett's all over what we do in The Mars Volta. I tend to think that Omar's guitar playing is a weird combination of Greg Ginn, Sonny Sharock, and Syd Barrett. For me, Syd is one of the main influences of The Mars Volta." [Cedric Bixler-Zavala]

I can't personally say I notice much solo-Syd influence in their sound though I'm happy that yet another artist is giving the man his due. But like many people I notice that the Volta sounds on occasion like Zeppelin, the Chili Peppers, Santana, Floyd, and I dare say even Queen. I have a hunch that these guys are just huge music fans in general. After hearing this album I believe The Mars Volta may be the Quentin Tarantino of rock music. You all know the story about Quentin working in a video store watching all these movies over and over until he exploded with his glorious homage Pulp Fiction. Frances the Mute sounds like the work of guys that hung out listening to their favorite albums for years before blossoming with their own sound, if not exactly influenced directly by, perhaps just an unconscious by-product of.if that makes any sense. Just a theory of course.

Once again I find myself disagreeing with most reviewers on this title, both with those who love it and those who hate it. I would contend that Frances is neither the progressive masterpiece that many trumpet, nor is it the pile of bunk that some others believe. It's just an interesting and rather unique rock album. Aside from the fashionable art work, instrumental histrionics, and bizarre lyrics lies a base of retro hard rock with Spanish, funk, and psych-prog influence updated for another generation of teenagers (and old guys like me still longing to be a teenager.) As willing as I am to give points for being sprawling and unpredictable, pretentious and weird, there is the other part of the bargain the artist has to fulfill in quest of the masterpiece. TMV falls a bit short in that category of having enough overall focus and self-editing wisdom: this album would be a better one were there 20 less minutes of it. Criticism aside I enjoyed this album quite a bit and look forward to hearing their others. The menageries of madness, the wicked guitars and funk, the spirited vocals and the frenzied all adds up to a lot of fun. And it must be heard to be believed.don't expect to understand what this sounds like by reading reviews, you really need to hear them. Not for the musically faint-of-heart. 3 stars.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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