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The Mars Volta - Televators CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta

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3 stars 'Televators' is a single from THE MARS VOLTA'S first album 'De-loused in the Comatorium'. The standard version, consisting of the radio version (read: shortened) of the title track, and a live version of 'Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt', is certainly not outstanding fare for those who already have the album.

Though more concise, the radio version doesn't give the song enough room to breathe. And it needs that room: 'Televators' is a deeply emotional atmospheric track and quite unlike the majority of THE MARS VOLTA'S output. It is also a pivotal point of the album, describing how the hero (Cerpin Taxt) jumps to his death ('Just as you hit the ground ...' the song begins), which is why it sounds a little odd here, shorn of length and divorced from its context.

The live version of 'Take The Veil' demonstrates THE MARS VOLTA'S virtuosity, but doesn't quite capture the merciless power of their live performances. Well worth a listen for the fan, especially as it is a track not available on their Live EP of 2003.

The reason to buy this single, however, is the video. The concept is downright crazy and ought not to work: Cerpin Taxt contemplates his suicide and is mirrored by a tarsier (a cute monkey with big eyes) killing itself by jumping from a tree. Why a tarsier? I don't know. Who is the Herne-like figure, and why do the tarsier's eyes emit beams of light? But there's something haunting about the video, shot in green and laden with CGI. I rank it among the ten best music videos I've seen.

A note: the Australasian version, released to coincide with the group's appearance at The Big Day Out, is actually a repackaging of the Live EP, with the addition of the album version of 'Televators'.

This release is hardly essential, but brilliant for what it is. A gentle way to enter the world of THE MARS VOLTA.

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Posted Sunday, September 9, 2007 | Review Permalink

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