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living large in the four-oh-eight. wicked large.


frances the mute.

The Mars Volta is the band you've been waiting to hear. And Frances the Mute, released today, is the album to prove it.


Take the better half of At the Drive-In, add a heavy dose of Latin flavor, shake, and stir. Then shake it again. I spent the better part of this evening deconstructing this five-song opus as it twists and turns from radio-friendly balladry ("The Widow") to Santana-on-crack prog rock ("L'Via L'Viaquez"). I waded through a fifteen-minute jam only to be followed by a jam twice that long. I cowered in the long shadow of the pretentiousness of a band that creates it's own vocabulary, sings half the album in Spanish, and builds intros and outros that sound like a scratched version of OK Computer.

I didn't get it.

Until I heard the epic, 32-minute "Cassandra Geminni". And it all made sense.

This is the kind of album you listen to in the dark and without interruption. The kind of album that makes you reach for CDs you haven't listened to in years, to find the influences, to trace the lyrical and musical path to the present.

Frances the Mute isn't for everyone. And it's certainly nothing like the for-the-masses single, "The Widow". But it is the latest effort from a group of Afro-coiffed risk-takers and I guarantee it's like nothing you've ever heard.

Try it. You've been waiting for this.


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