Top positive review
Just a couple of points to reinforce what others have said
on 9 July 2010
Firstly, songcraft on this album is their best yet. By this I mean, giving each song what it needs, to be the best it can be. No less, no more, no filler. This is a really hard thing to come by in prog rock where "tripping for tripping's sake" can and often will become self-indulgent. A mere 3:38 song on a Mars Volta album must have blown hard-core fans' minds... But to me this is one of the best prog rock albums ever - we always knew these guys know how to write music, but here they have so well executed the concepts from start to finish. It is still slightly baffling that they aren't as famous as Radiohead or Tool with whom I think they are now easily musical equals.
Secondly, as another reviewer pointed out, the sonics are better balanced and the production is superb. For example, previous albums tend to - not always - have too much much treble (particularly on the guitar). Listeners without a burning desire to give themselves tinnitus while playing music full-blast will be happy about this, because you want to hear the awesomeness of all of the components of the band interacting together without some massively overloaded high-end frequencies on guitar or vocals destroying your inner ear at the same time. To mix and produce these guys must be a total nightmare with so many instruments competing for a look-in.
So, along with the overall greatness of the music, the interesting lyrics, good balance of song vibes and fantastic production makes this an eminently listenable album and I'd highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in rock music, let alone genuine prog rock.