Since the release of their highly-praised debut, 'Deloused in the Comatorium', The Mars Volta have gathered what can only be described as a cult following. Through word-of-mouth and their notorious live shows, their fanbase has spread throughout the United States and across the world.
'The Widow' is the first (and probably only) offering from their long anticipated follow-up, 'Frances the Mute', and serves up heartfelt vocals from Cedric Bixler-Zavala, and some classic rock guitar from Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. The track strolls a long at a steady pace, building from a gentle acoustic intro to a powerful chorus, travelling through finger-numbing guitar solos and interventions from trumpets, steadying to a gentle, if not a little predictable halt.
The 'B'-Side, 'Frances the Mute' is the title track that never made it onto the album (it wouldn't fit!), and is a more characteristic Mars Volta track. After a steady 4 and a half minute intro of 'ambient noise', it breaks down into a frenzied, high-tempo blaze of true TMV music. It then slows down into a soft lullaby, with gentle acoustic guitars caressing Cedric's husky/whispering vocals before a sporadic burst of guitar and drums flows into a Black Sabbath-esque riff. A truly wonderful track, one not to be missed!
All-in-all, a decent single that deserves to do well, but won't get the praise it deserves. In my mind, 'The Widow' is not the best track from the album, but certainly the most accessible to a fickle public. But even if you've heard 'The Widow' and don't like it, buy it for the B-Side. You will be converted.