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Omar Rodriguez-Lopez - Old Money CD (album) cover

OLD MONEY

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez

 

Eclectic Prog

3.80 | 49 ratings

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The Willow Farmer
3 stars For my second PA review, I'd like to write about an album I'm a bit surprised hasn't had a review yet.

Believe me, you can tell within the first five seconds of pressing play who is at the helm of this ship. Old Money is peppered with almost all the hallmarks of ORL's work with The Mars Volta. Wild guitar solos, frantic drumming, spacey sound collages, and jazzy bass lines fill this record from top to bottom. The only thing missing is Cedric Bixler Zavala's bold (and controversial) vocals.

I really have to applaud the lineup gathered for this affair. Jon Theodore and Deantoni Parks provide some killer drumming packed with clever fills and inventive rhythms. Speaking of great rhythms, Juan Alderete lays down some of that fantastic bass work we've come to expect. He has a keen ear for the composition, always playing just what the track needs. No more, no less. Marcel Rodriguez Lopez's contributions are appreciated, if a little understated (except on the last song, where he plays some cool drum parts). Cedric (playing drums) and TMV's former woodwind player Adrian Terrazas-Gonzales also make brief appearances.

A lot of this album can sound very chaotic (The Power of Myth, Population Council's Wet Dream, etc.), but as TMV's fans know, it is a really nice kind of chaos. Omar and co. never let their jams fall off the proverbial cliff. To balance out the madness of some of the wilder songs, a few mellower tracks (Trilateral Commission as Dinner Guests, How to Bill the Bilderberg Group) are thrown in the mix. These highs and lows help to create the illusion that the listener is going on an unforgettable cosmic journey.

The highlights on this album for me are the last two tracks. I Like Rockefellers' First Two Albums, but After That... starts off with a hypnotic riff courtesy of Omar himself. Eventually, the song blossoms into a very psychedelic jam that always makes me think of spaceships in old sci-fi movies. Distorted synths eventually overtake the jam and close out the song quite nicely. The title track is a nine minute blowout that ends the album with a bang. Starting with a haunting soundscape reminiscent of Frances The Mute's more ambient moments, the band (comprised only of Omar, Juan, and Marcel) eventually segues into a nice laid back jam about three minutes in. This jam grows progressively more intense as one of Omar's tasty guitar solos dominates the song. After a brief reprise of the post-soundscape theme, Omar launches into a final solo that brings the CD to a terrific conclusion.

I really like this album, but I can only justify giving it three stars. It is a good place to start exploring ORL's solo work, but it's not as strong as any full length Mars Volta record. If you are a TMV fan who needs something to hold you over until the next release, I would definitely recommend picking this one up. At 45 minutes, it never overstays its welcome and you can listen to it over and over without growing bored.

The Willow Farmer | 3/5 |

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