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Omar Rodriguez-Lopez - Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fungus CD (album) cover


Omar Rodriguez-Lopez


Eclectic Prog

3.37 | 26 ratings

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The Rain Man
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Released in 2008, 'Absence Makes the Heart grow Fungus' has been sitting in Omar's locker for seven years. Therefore it was recorded well before Omar's quintet/group formed. The two other people who appear on the album are Jon Philip Theodore and Sara Christina Gross. Jon was the original drummer with Omar's main project The Mars Volta until being replaced by Thomas Pridgen. Meanwhile Sara plays the saxophone on 'Fungus'. Sara met Omar as Sara's band 'Radio Vaya's' only album was produced by Omar. Finally Omar plays guitar along with providing all the other effects on the album.

The album begins with 'Hands tied to the roots of haemorrhage'. For starter the track sounds like a game of space invaders before exploding into a fantastic tune. Omar's guitar playing is brilliant and really sets the album alight from the off. It has a heavy feel about it and is very accessible for an Omar track! Second track 'City dreams inside a truck'. In complete contrast is back to weirdness in the extreme. Thankfully it only lasts one minute forty-four as it just feels like there is no structure and almost feels like random plucking with no thought behind it. Third track, 'Sex, consultation for misery' has some nice guitar work and is also a lot more laid back with some neat effects.

Most of the songs on the album average about four minutes apart from track 4, 'Tied Prom digs on the docks' which stands at over eleven minutes. This is the first track in which Sara's saxophone can be distinguished. The track starts off with energetic bursts and could be mistaken for a track off Bedlam of Goliath without being one of the tracks as it has the same sort of sound. That is until the three minute mark where things get really frantic with explosive drumming before settling down again, as Omar uses guitar effects pedals to create a spacey like feel which lasts for the next six minutes of the track. Then the drums regain the rhythm while the saxophone meanders in and out. The guitar comes in to finish off the track which for me along with 'Hands tied to the roots of haemorrhage' are the highlights of the album. Great stuff.

However this is where the album peaks and the rest of the album is nowhere near the same standard. Sixth track 'Mood swings' starts off with what sounds like someone falling down a flight of stairs. Then there is these really uncomfortable noises followed by beeping. Then around the three minute mark it sounds like about ten people falling down the same flight of stairs at the same time. There are also parts of the track which sound like a tape on fast forward where you can hear the voices in a squeaky fast forward mode. I can't even envisage this track being a grower and turns this album in to an album to wake you up in the mornings rather than relax you enough to get to sleep at night. 'An Ancient Shrewdness' continues in the same vein. It is like they did one take for the this track and 'Mood Sings' and decided that it will do. Whereas the reality is they are very difficult to listen to with awkward noises all the way through these tracks.

Track eight 'A story teeth rotted for' comes as a relief more than anything else. The drumming is consistent bringing structure to the song while the guitar effects create a medieval feel. The track is still not a glimpse of the earlier tracks but nevertheless a very listenable track much like album closer 'Of Ankles to Stone'.

Overall this is a fairly good album. There are moments of Omar genius and there are literally moments of madness. As Omar continues to tread that fine line between the two; you know there is always going to be a few tracks at least to hang about for. For me the best album he has done so far is 'An Apocalypse inside of an orange'. There are some tracks on this album that are up there with standard set on that album but others almost fall into the 'Omar and Jeremy Ward ' category. Which if you have not heard it, try to keep it that way!

The Rain Man | 3/5 |


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