Posted by: Dave on March 7, 2005 at 10:31 pm

If Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez weren’t two fifths of the best band of the last 10 years, the late At the Drive In, it’s highly doubtful they’d have a major label deal and
that they could get people to buy and attempt to understand their highly challenging music. But they’ve earned our respect, so we try, despite the hurdles. For starters, the album is five basic movements spread over 77 minutes, the lyrics are in English and Spanish, and the titles use a decent amount of Latin. Plus, there are lengthy periods of free-form jamming, moody soundscapes and transitional noises. But when they’re making any semblance of a song, it’s truly stunning and mesmerizing. Amongst rapidly funky bass lines, creepy salsa rhythms and an overall prog rock vibe, Cedric’s wickedly gorgeous vocals soar oh-so-high and suck you in. If you broaden your mind and get lost in their zone, the majority of it works quite well. It’s really only track 4 that destroys the momentum, while track 2 “The Widow” is one hell of a beautiful single. Yes, they somehow compromised enough get a
single out of this.
Heavy Rotation tracks:L’Via L’Viaquezicon” (Song of the Year Candidate); “The Widowicon” (Song of the Year Candidate)
Medium Rotation tracks: The resticon
Grade: A- (Top 20 Albums of 2005 candidate)

(As posted 3/7/05 on
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2 Responses to “The Mars Volta Frances the Mute (Universal)”

  1. New Music Nation » Blog Archive » The Mars Volta The Bedlam In Goliath (Universal) Says:

    […] Sound: More of the same wicked and menacing wails, pummeling drums, spastic basslines, shredding guitars, terrifying sound manipulations and all-around relentless, noisy creepiness that you’ve come to expect from The Mars Volta. But The Bedlam In Goliath is actually their most conventional and manageable album yet. Yes, there’s still over 70 minutes of music and yes, the aggressive prog rock freakouts on here aren’t for the faint of heart, but these 12 tracks feel more like songs (often long songs) than anything else they’ve done. They occasionally groove funkier than ever before and sometimes channel classic Black Sabbath doomsday riffs, though they usually turn those stylistic choices into something more frenetic and disturbing. Heavy Rotation tracks: “Goliath” (Top 20 Songs of 2008 Candidate) Medium Rotation tracks: “Wax Simulacra”; “Aberinkula”; “Cavalettas”; “Ilyena”; “Agadez” Recommended: If you’ve been frustrated by The Mars Volta’s tendencies to launch into long, aimless sound experiments in the past, you’ll be happy to find that The Bedlam In Goliath is their most focused album by far. The tempo mellows from time to time, but for the most part, Bedlam is a furious barrage of mayhem and boundary-pushing experimentation. It’s not their best album, that would be Frances The Mute (my #7 album of 2005) but it is their second best. Grade: B+ […]

  2. New Music Nation » Blog Archive » Top 100 Albums of the ’00s Says:

    […] 31. System of A Down Toxicity (American) 32. The Mars Volta Frances the Mute (Universal) 33. Drive By Truckers Decoration Day (New West) 34. K-Os Joyful Rebellion (Astralwerks) 35. The Evens Get Evens (Dischord) 36. Menomena Friend and Foe (Barsuk) 37. Nas God’s Son (Columbia) 38. The Shins Oh, Inverted World (Sub Pop) 39. Adele 19 (XL/Columbia) 40. The Coup Pick A Bigger Weapon (Epitaph) […]

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