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The Mars Volta - The Widow CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta

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4 stars Perhaps it is stupid to add singles but very well. This is a good EP. You get to here the outtake title track that would have been the first track on the album I think. It's very good. The avant garde clanging sounds at the begining go on a bit too long but there is some great "Red" era Fripp style guitarring here. Well worth the Ł2 or so that it cost. I have the vinyl, single and dvd-s of this and its a good set.

A nice touch is that they but the A-sides on the B-side and the new unreleased track as the A-side for some reason. This is also true of "Intertiatic ESP" and "L'Via L'Viaquez". "The Widow" here is shortened to cut off the trippy end bits for a radio edit. 2 good tracks a pound each. Can't complain. "Frances the Mute" has to be one of the longest A-sides ever yet SUPER FURRY ANIMALS released a 22 minute single.

Report this review (#42041)
Posted Monday, August 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I give this record 4 stars because everyone who enjoyed the Frances the Mute album should also hear the outtake title track. The song is exactly what you would expect from the Frances the Mute album. When the song rocks, it rocks good. However, it falls victim to the same pitfalls as the rest of the songs on the LP: too much annoying pretentious gobbeldy-gook noise. The track 'Frances the Mute' starts in with about 3 or 4 minutes of what sounds like a wrench banging on pipes. This noise is constant and does not stop or change, but eventually becomes extremely annoying. When the track finally gets going, it is incredible, and rocks with the same intensity as "Cygnus...Vismund Cygnus" and "L'via L'viaquez". There are amazing riffs and intense changes. It is truly a prog epic, with the actual music part clocking in at over 10 minutes and consisting of several parts. On another light note, the version of "the Widow" on side B is devoid of all the pretentious noisy gunk that was tacked on to that track on the LP, making that song just a bit more enjoyable. Anyone who enjoys TMV's music should find this single agreeable.
Report this review (#42059)
Posted Monday, August 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I FINALLY got this EP in the mail today directly from GSL on VINYL. The vinyl looks BEAUTIFUL. The vinyl looks like blue marble and is very nice to look at, and it plays nicely. So, everybody..forget the CD import from the UK, unless you don't have a turntable this is, but if you DO have a turntable,buy the US vinyl version. You'll be glad you did. :-)

Frances The Mute - 9/10 - Very good track missing from the Frances the Mute album. It starts out with metallic banging, but then explodes in to a rocker, kind of like how Cut That City started on their Tremulant EP. I'm not sure where this track would actually go on the album. A lot of people I've talked to think it belongs very well in the beginning..Anyway, very good song. The clanking in the beginning, in my opinion isn't *too* long, it's almost long enough, some people don't think so though. It's a matter of how much clanking you can stand. :-)

The Widow [live] - 9/10 - VERY GOOD live recording of The Widow from The Mars Volta's album Frances the Mute. It's more acoustic, but the vocals have some effects added to them (is this done live or edited in the studio?). It's a good recording. Definitely good.

Final Score - 18/20 - 4.5 stars - Final rating - 5 stars

Report this review (#42753)
Posted Saturday, August 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I am a huge huge huge TMV fan. Frances, I believe, is an undeniable masterpiece, and De- loused is also very strong. This single does not disappoint. Frances the Mute, the song, is typical TMV, but it has more of a loose De-loused feel. Not that this is a bad thing. Frances the Mute, the album the song was originally intended for, is intrinsically more structured then its predecessor, so it would have had more of a De-loused sound.

The Widow has been edited to cut out that ending 2-3 minutes of noise. It's the same song that us TMV fans came to know and love, and the ending noises edited out makes more sense here. IMO, the noise is needed for the album, but the song on its own doesn't need it.

Overall, it's a strong single. It gives a good glimpse into the song whose lyrics appear in the Frances album, but with no song present on said album. TMV fan? Get it. Not one? Eh. 3/5 stars.

Report this review (#44637)
Posted Sunday, August 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars First I'll start off by saying that this review will not encompass the track "The Widow." The song doesn't excite me enough to play it as a single, but I'll listen to it through the course of Frances the Mute. In any case, it feels odd reviewing a single track, but in all honesty, it's not meant to be a single track to begin with. The "Frances the Mute" track is what would have been the closer of the album bearing its name if CDs were able to hold more music.

Wheras some have debated that this is supposed to be the opener of the album, I find it hard to agree--partially due to the fact that inside the FRANCES THE MUTE Jewel Case, the title track is listed after all the rest. Also, the song's lyrical material and resurfacing aspects of other songs in the album leads me to believe that it's meant to be a sort of encore closing song.

As mentioned in previous reviews, the track starts with a clanking sound, sort of remeniscient of pipes, although I like to think they have a sort of "ghostly" aspect. While somewhat annoying if this is the first thing you start listening to, when appended behind the end of Cassandra Geminni on a playlist, it actually transitions quite naturally, and doesn't last for very long in comparison to the noise on tracks like "Miranda, that Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore." After the noise, it goes into crooning rock segment, which is certainly less frantic and complex than tracks like "Cygnus... Vismund Cygnus" or "L'Via L'Viaquez." Within this segment, BIXLER sings of apparitions and other such things regarding the prior events criptically laid out by the other songs off of FTM.

After the rather upbeat segment, the track slows down to a mellow, acoustic pace, with strings similar to those featured on the "Sarcophogii" segments of the intro of "Cygnus... Vismund Cygnus" and the closer of "Cassandra Geminni" with typical Bixler morbid, abstract lyrics. The song begins to mount after a few minutes, then breaks into another crooning segment, where Bixler relates that "This never happened," which is probably referring to the whole FTM album. After a quick little segment with a few repetitions of those words, it again cuts to a new segment with some ambience over a loop of a recorded-sounding bit from the "Sarcophogii" segments, with liberal use of spacey sounds. Then, this begins to fade away, as a steady humming sound builds and gets louder, similar to the conclusion of "The Bends" by MR. BUNGLE, but not quite so eardrum splitting. It then cuts out completely, and the song ends.

The song itself is actually pretty pleasant, and the lyrics are much less cryptic than most of the other songs by Bixler, AT THE DRIVE-IN or THE MARS VOLTA. Also, the noise isn't quite so annoying as that on FTM (to those of you who are actually annoyed by it). It certainly doesn't work as a standalone track, though. It really needs to be played as a closer for FTM for it to work. I certainly reccomend it for those of you who enjoyed FTM, and want at least a LITTLE closure to what is a very lyrically confusing album.

Report this review (#45274)
Posted Friday, September 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Buy it on a bargain market because of the cover. Then looked again - holy god, this is VOLTA! And this is excellent addition to any TMV's fan collection! Actually I prefer this single to the album, because it has the two best songs related to "Frances..." - the name-sake epic (unfortunately an outtake) and "The Widow", wonderful urban blues in a concise listenable version. Highly recommended!
Report this review (#116023)
Posted Thursday, March 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Four stars, and two stars. Four stars for 'Frances the Mute' in the context of THE MARS VOLTA'S discography. It's the Rosetta Stone to the album of the same name, the key to understanding the strange, awkward concept underlying the otherworldly sounds of that album. But two stars for the music itself: 'The Widow' is great, but is only one short track, and 'Frances The Mute' seems somewhat pointless on its own. So I'll compromise at three stars.
Report this review (#137709)
Posted Tuesday, September 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In Frances the Mute fashion, the title track of an album it didn't even appear on begins with atonal noises, this time a distant clattering. For four-and-a-half minutes this goes on (remember "Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore"), but when the actual music comes in, it is The Mars Volta people can immediately recognize. It is amazing that this group can take a relatively simple chord progression and smother it in rock and experimentation such that it becomes far more complicated sounding than it really is. Omar Rodriguez-Lopez fires off a brilliant little guitar solo, and Cedric Bixler-Zavala is as dynamic as he is on the studio album. Later, the piece involves forlorn acoustic guitar and soft singing, occasionally gripped by devilish, throaty effects. After another bout of heaviness, the piece concludes with spacey growls and the strummed theme of an album this excellent song was, for whatever reason, rejected from. What is funny to me is that if The Mars Volta had cut out all of the experimental gunk from the album, this dirty gem would have had a proper home, but for some reason, I find it all the more appealing that it was cast aside in this manner, like a shameful treasure. "The Widow" is edited, which essentially means only the song proper is present (the sonic experimentation that is unpleasant for some- and understandably so- is cut off at the end). It's worth mentioning that this edited version has a twisted, sick music video.
Report this review (#272978)
Posted Friday, March 19, 2010 | Review Permalink

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