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

FRANCES THE MUTE

The Mars Volta

 

Heavy Prog

4.07 | 931 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Ghandi 2
3 stars I almost wish it were worse.

I know that sounds strange, but it's true; there is some very good music here, and there is also a lot of not good music. If the good parts weren't so good, then I could just write them off. But I can't. However, I have found a way to increase enjoyment of this album immensely, which I will talk about during the individual track reviews.

The lyrics very rarely make any sense at all. The best way to describe them would be to call them darkly psychadelic. "And scratch my itchy teeth" and "sink your teeth your teeth your teeth into the flesh of midnight, night forevermore" don't make much sense, but they can affect the listener. Somehow. Anyway, it's best to just ignore them because they aren't suppposed to make sense. The packaging is good; Storm does some more excellent work, although some of it is a bit unsettling.

One major problem with this album is that Omar absolutely LOVES doing freeform inprovisational psychadelic jams. The problem is that he's not very good at it.

Cygnus... Vismund cygnus--Quite a good opener, but like most of this album, very repetitive. There are traces of the avant-garde in this entire album in that songs tend to switch from different styles with out any transition. Not nearly as bad as something like Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, but I'm just warning you. While there are some variations, most of the song is essentially the verse and chorus repeated over and over, broken up by a forgettable psychadelic jam in one part. So you can skip to the next song after you have heard the verse and chorus enough times for your liking. It also ends with noise, which is more than skippable. Obviously, you should listen to the whole album without skipping (except for the noise) first; perhaps there is something that I am missing.

The Widow--The radio song. Not that that's bad. The lyrics make a shred of sense here; unfortunately this nice song is marred by the sounds at the end. Skip them.

L'via L'viaquez--The song is the verse and chorus over, and over, and over, and over again. And then once more a cappella with distorted vocals. Skip ahead as soon as you've heard enough.

Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore--Skip the first 4 minutes. However, do not skip the rest of the song because the final repetition of the chorus is very good, and the jazzy part at the end is mostly good if you ahve the patience for it, and it leads into Cassandra very well. Assuming you skipped the stupid noise, the song opens with some very good trumpets; the brass are very prevalent on this song, which I enjoy.

Cassandra Gemini--By far the best song this album because it has the highest good music to crap ratio. There's no annoying noise intro or outro, and the only skippable track is track 9 (which I encourage you to skip because it's another one of Omar's forgettable psychadelic jams. It also rounds the song out to a nicer length.) The song ends with a cut back to the opening acoustic melody to close the album in a nice circle.

If this were 45-55 minutes long instead of 72, then it would EASILY be a four star album. However, I must deduct a star from them for making the good music so hard to get to, and that listening to this album without employing the skip button is one of the most horrendous things I can imagine. I actually have hopes for this band; although they probably won't do it, I would greatly enjoy an album from them if they spent the whole album getting down to making music instead experimenting with irritating noise or improvising a long jam.

If you're willing to hit the skip button and would like to see some of the things new bands are doing, I recommend a listen; however, I can't recommend paying for it. (I got it from the library.) Listen to it for free on Napster.com if you like; you should listen to it before you buy it anyway just so you know what you're getting into.

Ghandi 2 | 3/5 |

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