The Mars Volta: Noctourniquet (Warners)

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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.

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