ARTIST: The Mars Volta
TITLE: Frances the Mute
YEAR RELEASED: 2005
CHART ACTION: #4 US, #23 UK
SINGLES: The Widow (#95 US, #7 Alternative, #25 Mainstream), L’Via L’Viaquez (#53 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: If you bought it only…
LINEUP: Omar Rodriguez Lopez, Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Jonb Theodore, Ikey Owens, Jaun Aldrete de la Pena, Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez. Also Lenny Castro, Flea, John Frusciante, Larry Harlow and others.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Impressive, yet ultimately overwhelming, concept album.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The second record by the Mars Volta is a concept supposedly finding one’s birth parents, but it’s not as straight forward as you think. The story gets a bit lost as you listen to the staggeringly complex tracks.
Only one of the five tracks is under 10 minutes (“The Widow” at 5:50) and “Cassandra Gemini” is 32 ½ minutes long! Now, long songs don’t necessarily mean something is boring, pretentious, or indulgent, yet these tracks seem to verge upon being too much for anyone to take all at once, even with the great sounds and riffs.
There’s also sound effect and found sounds through the record that disturb the flow (at least to may ears) and while they may be necessary for the ‘story’ I could do without.
I love the sound and idea of the story, it’s just way way too indulgent.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The title track was left off the album for time, so it was released as a B-side and streams separately.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE C+: Maybe I need to spend more time with it, but it’s such a slog that the great parts are obfuscated by the breadth of the tracks.