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|1. Cygnus...Vismund Cygnus: Sarcophagi/Umbilical Syllables/Facilis ...|
|3. Via l'Viaquez|
|4. Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore: Vade Mecum|
|5. Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore: Pour Another Icepick|
|6. Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore: Pisacis (Phra-Men-Ma)|
|7. Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore: Con Safo|
|8. Cassandra Geminni: Tarantism|
|9. Cassandra Geminni: Plant a Nail in the Navel Stream|
|10. Cassandra Geminni: Faminepulse|
|11. Cassandra Geminni: Multiple Spouse Wounds|
|12. Cassandra Geminni: Sarcophagi|
|13. Cassandra Geminni: Faminepulse|
|14. Cassandra Geminni: Multiple Spouse Wounds|
|15. Cassandra Geminni: Sarcophagi|
On this album they've incorporated a lot more instruments and styles to the music and at the same time gone even more crazy in how they use them. Generally this works really well and the use of Spainish lyrics (at least I think it's Spainish) sounds really good, and it's not like their lyrics made any sense anyway... The track listing is as crazy as the music and you get the sense that they added in breaks between tracks on the CD just as a courtesy.
My main complaint would be that sometimes they go a bit too far and venture into the realm of randomness. Four minutes of the same piece of birdsong played over and over again can become tedious very quickly so I just skip past it.
All in all it's a really great album and something completely different. It's worth getting just for the last track alone. It's not for everyone though, I could understand how some people could hate this. If you haven't listened to the Mars Volta before I would recomend their first album over this as it's a lot easier to get into.
'Frances the Mute' is The Mars Volta's next step into their bizarre land of hardcore techno progressive rock. Their previous efforts have both been mind blowing, using out of the blue tempo changes, huge ranges of instruments and most importantly the ever ingenious pairing of minds that is Cedric Bixler Zavala and Omar A Rodriguez Lopez. Like 'De-loused in the Comatorium', 'Frances' is effectively a long heroine fuelled story on the other side of consciousness, but this time round it's more of an experience when listened to from to start to finish. It only actually consists of five songs, despite my CD player telling me twelve and the track listing telling me something like fifteen. Further confusion is caused by the song 'Frances the Mute''s lyrics appearing inside the CD case, despite there being no such song on the album.
The lyrics are based on a anonymous diary stumbled upon, telling of an abandoned child searching for his parents, but apart from little hints like "I won't forget who I'm looking for" you would never guess so. Since their early days in their former band 'At the Drive-in' Bixler Zavala and Rodriguez Lopez have taunted with words so deep and cryptic that I doubt even they know what they're talking about. This becomes most evident on 'L'Via L'Viaquez' where the verses are sung in what I presume is Spanish; perhaps Latin; perhaps neither. Nonsensical as the words are, make no mistake, they still have a profound effect when sung as emotionally as Bixler Zavala. He pours his heart and soul into the bounding vocal melodies; if this tells the story of a tragedy then it is still unwaveringly upbeat and uplifting, thanks in no small part to the blaring riffs and intricate solos from guitarist Rodriguez Lopez.Read more ›
So the actual album. Well it is weird, but amazingly interesting. The flashes of punk which filled the 1st long player are still there, but there is overall a much greater sense of experimentation. The first track explodes with a swirling guitar that ATD-I would've been proud of, as fugazi style drum riffs punctuate the stop start dynamics. This is almost mars volta by numbers, until Rodriguez (who produced much of the album) slurs the riff into dreamy ambience. When the Mars Volta really shine is when they are at their weirdest, their most unexpected. L'Via Viaquez is perhaps the best track on the album, as a wailing guitar is set over precise salsa tempo drums and bass. The musicianship is breathtaking, the dynamics awe inspiring and the timing exquisite to say the least. My personal favourite track is the breathtakingly haunting Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore, flea's trumpet melding beautifully with the pained vocals of Bixler.Read more ›