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Their most coherent work to date
on 31 July 2006
A mere 18 months after their 'Frances The Mute' masterpiece, TMV make a triumphant - and rather speedy - return with 'Amputechture'. It is their most coherent work to date in that it blends the (some may argue) "accesibility" of 'De-Loused...' with the more experimental elements of 'Frances...' yet manages to sound not much like either.
Beginning with the 7-minute 'Vicarious Atonement' the album instantly strikes you as different from previosu efforts. It's a slow track, the 1st 3 minutes of which are dominated by some dexterous guitar innovation and - most noteably - the clearly audible and welcome return of the keys which dominated 'Deloused...'. Towards the end of the song, the keys become more jazz-based, enhanced by the introduction of some brass instrument work. Moreover, vocals have been subtly layered making this rather delirious-sounding track even more enjoyable.
Stopping quite abruptly (as each track on this album does, unlike Deloused where they were woven into one another or Frances where there seemd to be 4-minute gaps of sound), you're led into Tetragrammaton - a 17 minute opus and perhaps one of the best tracks every put to tape by TMV. As expected, the fragility of the verses is balanced with the hyperactivity of the "chorus" with a tremendous bass-riff which is then followed by layered guitar work, solos and more layered vocals. The further extent of layering of the same instruments makes this album feel less cluttered than the last two. The 6-minute mark the track slows significantly in a Cicatriz-esque manner and around 8 minutes picks back up again in an explosive fashion with an amazing guitar solo. After 17 minutes it doesn't even feel like 5 have passed; it lacks the large gaps that Cassandra Geminni had and therefore seems more complete and coherent.
Tracks like 'Meccamputechture' explore new territory with Cedric almost "rapping" (for want of a better word) at the start before the guitars and brass-instrumental work kick in with 'space-like' samples kicking in too (the latter being another prominent feature of this album). The hypnotic repetition of "it lacks a human pulse" over the music towards the end of the 11-minute track leaves goosebumps on my skin; truely fantastic!
'Asilos Magdalena' is in the same vain as the "blackmailed she fell off every mountain" section of 'L'Via L'Viaquez', the guitar working alone with the Spanish lyrics providing something completely distinct from the rest of the album yet doesn't ever seem out-of-the-ordinary. This leads onto forthcoming single 'Viscera Eyes' which could probably be considered the most accessible work TMV have done, but the reasonably simple riff works PERFECTLY with the trumpet/saxophone and with Cedric's high-pitched Spanish vocals before turning back to the "come on and give it to me, come on and die. In your viscera eyes!" of the chorus. A truly magnificent song dispalying the signs of fantastic creativity.
'Day of the Baphomets' begins with some slow, Tool-esque work before leading into a bass solo before exploding into a flourishing track of bongos, layered guitars, sporadic jazz explosions/solos. The album is book-ended with slower tracks leaving 'El Ciervo Vulnerado' similar to 'Vicarious...', but that's just the cyclical nature of a TMV album. The calls of "bless it be, bless it be" and distorted vocals and "space-like" sounds over the somewhat Eastern-tinged base-sound of the track leave this as a perfect exit to a flawless album.
Cedric recently told people that Frusciante was only told his guitar parts 5 minutes before entering the studio to record this work and that it is largely innovation. For a band constantly pushing boundaries, TMV have succeeded immensely in their creation of a literally flawless album; a perfectly crafted, dexterous masterpiece; a blue-print for what music should sound like!! Innovative, spontaneous, refreshing and perfect are words that don't even scratch the surface. Trust me, you're going to love every second.