The Mars Volta: Noctourniquet (Warners)

 |   |  1 min read

The Mars Volta: Molochwalker
The Mars Volta: Noctourniquet (Warners)

Cards on the table. Much as I loved the first Mars Volta album Deloused in the Comatorium and parts of Frances the Mute, much of what they have done since -- this demanding and often annoying album especially -- has left me rather cold.

There's a willfullness about their being "different" which infects almost every ADHD track here, where ideas start but rarely reach any completion or nexus, and you do wonder what they have against serious choruses. This seems anathema to them.

And their lyrics? Well, they are printed here in all their pretentiousness and obscurantism, and leave plenty of prog bands in their wake. And this is very prog in places, not always in a good way.

The bristling Dyslexicon (which sounds goes off like a box of firecrackers but somehow also references Blondie's Rapture) is thrilling in all its melodrama, the sort-of ballads Empty Vessels and Imago are appealing in their sometimes familiar tropes and the pure prog excursions Lapochka and In Absentia will have grey beards reaching for their Dictionary of Seventies Progressive Rock Chord Progressions.

But there is a lot of stuttering electronica added around the occasional hook, and short-concentration span fury. 

This album's title (and songs with names like Dyslexicon, Molochwalker and Vedamalady) seems to me to be telling: it is one of those neologistic contractions which looks clever but actually stands for nothing.

Can't imagine I will ever play this much, if at all. Other than a few tracks. 

Fans however have given this big ups. But they are fans. The more critical or casual listener might hear it otherwise.

I sure do.

Curious about this area of prog-meets-rock then start here.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Various Artists: The Gerry Goffin and Carole King Songbook (EMI)

Various Artists: The Gerry Goffin and Carole King Songbook (EMI)

While Carole King went on to greater fame, it is worth remembering that of the songs she wrote with her writing partner-then-husband Gerry Goffin in the early Sixties it was he who penned those... > Read more

Rodriguez: Coming from Reality (Light in the Attic)

Rodriguez: Coming from Reality (Light in the Attic)

Seventies cult singer-songwriter Rodriguez appeared at Elsewhere when his terrific debut Cold Fact got a long overdue reissue. He's the kind of person you know and love, or simply don't get at all.... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST PHOTOGRAPHER JONATHAN GANLEY talks the art and business of images from PhotoForum

GUEST PHOTOGRAPHER JONATHAN GANLEY talks the art and business of images from PhotoForum

The forthcoming Rim Books publication of PhotoForum at 40: Counterculture, Clusters, and Debate in New Zealand will mark four decades since PhotoForum was founded. Perhaps the society no longer... > Read more

Arsen Petrosyan: Charentsavan; Music for Armenian Duduk

Arsen Petrosyan: Charentsavan; Music for Armenian Duduk

The acknowledged master of the Armenian duduk — a double-reed flute capable of deep emotional expression in the right hands — is Djivan Gasparian, but already the young Petrosyan is... > Read more