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Octahedron CD

4.3 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (22 Jun. 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Mercury
  • ASIN: B0024NKK1U
  • Other Editions: Audio CD |  Vinyl |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,919 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Product description

Product Description

Octahedron is the stunning new album from The Mars Volta. An album heady with the emotion and high-drama that has always been the band's trademark, their newfound simplicity and focus has delivered some of the most immediate and powerful songs in their discography. The album opens with the tender ache of "Since We've Been Wrong", Cedric's keening vocal establishing a mood that's deeply blue, powerfully melancholic, a suckerpunch that hits every bit as hard as Octahedron's unashamed rockers (the gleaming futuristic funk of "Teflon", the tense chase-music of "Cotopaxi"). Pulling back from the full-tilt experimentation of previous releases, the album invests its energies in Omar's gift for songcraft, for swooning guitar runs of high tension and emotive power ("Luciforms"' epic riffage), and for the nagging hooks and melodies that wreath the churning rhythms of "Desperate Graves".

BBC Review

The fifth studio album by America's premier nu-prog exponents may not, as predicted, see them exactly 'mellow out', but it certainly sees them rein in their more histrionic tendencies.

While the album doesn't come close to vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala's description of it as 'acoustic' you do see what he's getting at. Unlike their classic work such as Drunkship Of Lanterns (from De-Loused In The Comatorium) or Francis The Mute's two multi-part suites, this is slightly more subdued fare, with the more ambient moments allowed to hang in the air for extended periods (cf: the segue between Copernicus and Luciforms).

Of course when talking of the work of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Bixler-Zavala it's always necessary to tick off the prog tropes: Impenetrably, vocabulary-wideningly cryptic lyrics? Check. Worryingly garish sleeve art featuring sixth form surrealism? Check (though, thankfully, they've replaced the bafflingly popular kitsch of Hipgnosis' Storm Thorgerson with the work of painter Jeff Jordan). Playful sonic trickery? (the barely audible extended intro to Since We've Been Wrong) Check.

Since We've been Wrong is a strangely close cousin to Metallica's Nothing Else Matters, albeit far more musically accomplished. With Twilight As My Guide has hints of fantasy/medievalism, while Rodriguez-Lopez's guitar recreates the seagull squawks of David Gilmour. Copernicus tempers Cedric's tendency to be overly fraught in the vocal department by dealing out the fever dream creepiness that their most reflective moments can induce.

Yet there are still the stop-start thrills of Cotopaxi and Luciforms, as well as the effects-fest of Desperate Graves to keep the noiseniks happy.

Octahedron shows the band maintaining a frighteningly productive work rate (this follows Omar's fabulous solo album Old Money, and a follow-up is apparently already in the can, as well as a self-made documentary film) while continuing to mature. Their motives still seem slightly self-important, yet that's the paradoxical appeal of this kind of music. Its vaulting ambition demands over-inflated self-confidence. And MV have that in spades. --Chris Jones

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on 29 September 2015
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on 23 September 2009
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on 30 July 2009
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on 9 July 2010
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on 14 December 2009
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on 16 August 2009
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