Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Mars Volta- Amputechture


Being that I'm arrogant enough to believe that what I say should warrent any of your attention I feel that my first record review should be of a band who probably has me eclipsed in the arrogance category. The Mars Volta are as recklessly artsy and hipster as any rock band out and their new album follows in the same vein. Fans will tease their hair out, put on tight jeans, dawn vests that should have stayed in the seventies, and buy sweet shades off ebay. Naysayers will continue to watch The Hills, put on tight jeans, dawn pastel colored polo shirts, and buy sweet shades off ebay. We're not all that different but, I digress.

It could be said that the album follows the typical Mars Volta formula of ridiculously long songs, non-sensical lyrics, and the use of more instruments then a 1930's big band. However this album, in my opinion, is a fusion of many of the elements from their two previous releases, Frances The Mute and Deloused In The Comatorium. Deloused was by far their most structured album as far as instrumentation goes (yes, I said structured) while Frances explores more of a free jazz style with lyrics about filleted skin, lakes of blood, and chewing on glass. The lyrics on Amputechture are much of the same. The lead singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala must be one haunted individual (or at least trying to be).

But I believe that the beauty of this album is to be found in the fusion of all of the Volta's ridiculous elements. I know that their particular brand of music isn't for everybody but because of them I want to buy some tighter jeans and tease my hair out. I believe that these guys are really pushing the envelope as far as rock music is concerned. We are fresh out of a decade where bland, boring, and ridgidly structured pop music dominated the music market place. This band, and this album, are the exact opposite. I don't know exactly what Cedric is singing about half the time but I'd rather not understand but appreciate a band then understand them completely and have them be revealed as trite and emotionally void. Also, I like when music is a challenge to understand. Again, I digress.

Amputechture starts out in much the same way that Frances The Mute left off. The first song has minmal instrumentation and a lot of blank space. In many ways (cliche!), the calm before the storm. It is then followed by by Tetragrammation (seriously guys, I can make up words to) a song that is nearly 17 minutes long and is probably the most instrumentally free song on the album. Vermicide follows and seems to be the only song that would be radio friendly because all of the rest reach ten minutes or more (with the exception of Asilos Magdalena). It is by far the most structured and pedestrian sounding song on the cd. It harkens back to the days of At The Drive In. I think that the album reaches its apex with the seventh song, Day of Baphomets. I think that it shows what this band is truly capable of. The guitar, drums, horns, ukalele (maybe?) all seem to be trying to steal the show but all mingle together to create a rather dense but enjoyable/accessible song.

In general, you're either going to love this album or hate it. I think it's incredible but my desperation to become a hipster is partially responsible. For those of you who feel the same way that I do and want to talk about it you can find me here, at trendy jean stores, and on ebay. Happy Bidding!

Dwellin' in the first circle of hell...



Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a really great review I cant wait for this album. thanks =)

2:44 PM  

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