‘Frances The Mute’ immediately lays all doubts to rest, that yes, it’s possible that the Mars Volta could exceed the grandiosity and pretentiousness of ‘Deloused in the Comatorium’. Running at over 80 minutes, there’s no denying the sheer ambition of music’s most hypersonic duos, Cedric Bixler and Omar Rodriguez. This CD builds upon the template of their debut, and takes it a step further; just more of everything, more blistering guitar solos, more musical scope/experimentation, and generally more monumental. Once again, Cedric’s wails and the fierce Page-Karoli-Santana guitar solos of Omar Rodriguez, dominate the album. Certainly Jon Theodore’s frenetic Mitch Mitchell-esque drumming style should not be overlooked as well. The ‘prog-rock meets classic rock’ comparisons have been beaten into the ground, but in fact that would be accurate, going from moody Pink Floyd/Hawkwind sections to self-aggrandizing solos that would make Jimmy Page and Carlos Santana proud. Thrown into the mix are some avant-garde twists, ‘Via l’Viaquez’ has it’s flamenco moments, the 30 minute magnum opus ‘Cassandra Geminni’ is sprinkled with Ornette Coleman sax-flurrys. It almost seems like the Mars Volta has been blessed with musical speaking-in-tongues, capturing the spirit of a different age unleashed as a musical mosaic, and the most impressive thing is that it works. ‘Frances The Mute’ is an astonishing album, breathtaking musicanship, progressive in it’s spirit, and majestic in it’s ambition. Definitley one of the strongest CD’s of 2005.