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


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

4.07 | 1006 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars 2 years on from The Mars Volta's incredible debut album, De-Loused in the Comatorium, comes the follow up, Frances the Mute, which proves to be one of the most frustrating albums I have ever heard. The problem here is that experimentation, by its very nature, doesn't always work and this is one of those times. The band made extensive use of tape loops, electronic samples and noises on most of the songs and for me, they drag on ad nauseam. And this is what makes the alum so frustrating, the music is, quite simply, stunning, showcasing the abilities of the band to a tremendous degree but its tempered by usually flowing out into these electronic soundscapes that go nowhere and last for several minutes. The endings of Cygnus... Vismund Cygnus, The Widow and L'Via L'Viaquez are all ruined like this but that's nothing compared to the travesty that is Miranda that Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore which is blighted by the constant electronics, save for a 2-4 minute section a third of the way through. If the album ended there I would be giving it two stars as there wouldn't have been a single song that I could have enjoyed all the way through, but it doesn't. The album ends with the 32 minute Cassandra Gemini, a song that isn't marred by an overindulgence with electronics and as a result is the strongest track ever recorded by The Mars Volta. It is simply amazing, everything is perfect, nothing is over or underdone and not once in its half hour of play do I lose interest, this song is worthy of the albums price tag alone.
sleeper | 3/5 |


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