Do you hear that? Its the collective crying that occurs after the release of yet another Mars Volta album. You would figure that at this point fans would understand what the Mars Volta are all about. Do they really not yet understand that the band will never give fans what they want but instead will follow their own creative instincts? You never hear a Bjork fan complain when she goes off and does something really strange like on Medulla or Volta and yet the Mars Volta, a band that is clearly hell bent on being abstract and artistic, gets a lip full every time they go in a different direction. Get over it and get used to it.
I guess its customary to bring up the bands past records when speaking of the most current release and the easiest comparison is that this record is 99% ballads. If “Asilos Magdalena”, “Miranda that ghost”, and “Televators” were some of your favorite songs than you should be right at home with this album.
My number one complaint (and there were very few of them) about The Bedlam in Goliath is that the band never took a moment to relax on that album. With every song being fast paced and loud I longed for those moments on a Volta record where I could take a breather before the next relentless thirteen minute prog rock latin jazz head bopping track would begin. Octahedron is the Ying to that albums Yang. I for one welcome a much slower album that builds to a more meaningful and impactful conclusion.
Cedric’s lyrics are more heartfelt and the emphasis he’s allowed to give every line really helps a lot. Where this record will truly shine is when they mix these beautiful songs with their other material in their live show. Otherwise its a more mellow but also a more meaningful experience when listened to from beginning to end. To complain is to not “get” what this band is all about. If you are listening to them you should be more than happy to be surprised on every album. They challenge their fans and it just seems like some fans don’t want to be challenged. For them their are plenty of other bland offerings out there. I for one am glad that sometimes it takes a couple of spins to enjoy a track or two.