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


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

4.07 | 1006 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars This album is definetely one of the more compositionally sound Mars Volta releases. Although many will complain about long spacey segments between tracks (and trust me, there are quite a few of them), others will argue that it serves to bring a well-deserved atmosphere to an intense album.

From the opening acoustic guitar picking of "Cygnus... Vismund Cygnus", one wouldn't think it is very intense, until suddenly everything explodes. The instruments and their layers are much more complex and dense than the atmosphere of the predecessor. Horns are more prominent, and there are much more odd rhythms and wacked out time signatures. The latin influence becomes much more apparent in "L'Via L'Viaquez" where there is great guitar soloing with slower more percussion oriented chill stuff in between. The strength of the album is the pure energy found on it, from "Who do you think you are" in the opening track to the crazy soloing in "L'via" or the opening madness of "Cassandra Gemini", with even the softer parts of "Miranda, That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore" getting a lift from a stellar horn section.

Most great albums have their weak parts, though, and Frances the Mute is no exception. There are lots of spacey ambiances, including an exceptionally lengthy break featuring nothing but coqui frogs, which could cause more impatient listeners to grumble. Most also don't care about the softer "The Widow" which is a more ballad-type track with a haunting refrain. Other than a bit of padding in the 30-minute "Cassandra Gemini" though, there really isn't much in this album that should cause many to dislike it.

So get Frances the Mute for its sheer energy, wonderful creativity, and for some the killer atmospheres. It is a great addition to many music collections.

topofsm | 4/5 |


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