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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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4 stars "Frances the Mute" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US progressive rock act The Mars Volta. After releasing what is widely regarded as one of the most innovative debut albums in modern progressive rock history, The Mars Volta returned in 2005 with "Frances the Mute".

"Frances the Mute" shows lots of progress from the debut especially in the way that the band gives the compositions time to develop and sometimes also a focus on jamming instead of tight structures. As on the debut there are tons of different influences in the music and itīs hard to say that The Mars Volta sound like anyone but themselves. Thereīs the latin and fusion influence in the music that gives some obvious hints toward Santana and the more noisy avant garde elements that smells a bit like King Crimson, but again those influences never overshadow the unmistakable sound of The Mars Volta. Cedric Bixler Zavalaīs high pitched vocal style is as always a defining element for the sound and the same can be said about the experimental and innovative guitar work by Omar A Rodriguez-Lopez.

There are only 5 tracks on the album but the playing time is impressive 76:55 minutes long. The closing track "Cassandra Gemini" alone is 32:27 minutes long and 3 out of the remaining 4 tracks exceed the 10 minute mark. "The Widow" which is by far the most accessible track on the album is also the shortest track with itīs 5:50 minutes long playing time. As a new thing the lyrics are a mix of English and Spanish which actually works really well for the band. I really enjoy the added latin elements on the album and a song like "L'vi l'viaquez" is greatly enjoyable to me, even though it took some time getting used to. Opener "Cygnus... Vismund cygnus" is also a favorite of mine while I have a hard time understanding why the first minutes of "Miranda that ghost just isn't holy anymore" were included. My only complaint about the album is probably the experimental ambient parts that occur a couple of times on the album. But then again I never did enjoy the experimental part in "Moonchild" either (from "In the Court of the Crimson King (1969)" by King Crimson) if you know what I mean? The actual music, which there are plenty of on the album, is excellent though.

The production by Omar A Rodriguez-Lopez is powerful and professional sounding. A great sound which suits the music perfectly.

"Frances the Mute" is a great second album by The Mars Volta. No sophomore jinx here. Itīs a more loose album than its predecessor and some people might miss the more structured sound of the debut, but I actually enjoy "Frances the Mute" more than "De-loused in the Comatorium (2003)" myself. A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is fully deserved.

UMUR | 4/5 |


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