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Mars Volta, The


Frances the Mute

Year: 2005
Format: CD
Label: GSL / Strummer / Universal
Genre: [Experimental Rock]
Overall Rating: 8.0
Music: 8.0
Production: 8.0

The Mars Volta is one of the most unique sounding mainstream artists. In fact the Mars Volta was formed in 2001 with the disposal of labels in mind. The goal of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala was to move beyond the genres. Those who have heard their debut album 'De-loused in the Comatorium' can easily come around to the thought that the Mars Volta is definitely original.

'Frances the Mute' is the second Mars Volta album that builds a story around the memory of a dear departed friend. Otherwise the similarities to the debut album are only musical. The imaginary 'De-loused in the Comatorium' was quite an incongruous sight back when it got published (2003). However, on 'Frances the Mute' the Mars Volta is already known for their style, and naturally it doesn't offer as big a surprise as their debut did.

The story on 'Frances the Mute' is inspired by a certain diary that Jeremy Ward found. Also the similarities of the anonymous author's life to that of Jeremy Ward's influenced the story. The moral of the story is the main character's discovery of the meaning of one's family. The music suits the story rather well.

Omar A Rodriguez-Lopez produced this album quite well. Rich Costey handled the mixing and Howie Weinberg took care of the mastering. Mostly the sounds are apt, but few clips and such could have been excluded (I'm not sure if they are intentional or not)... Overall, this second album from the Mars Volta is rather good. It's what one can expect from the band, but in the end it's nothing more.

Visit Artist's Website

- MAGE (March 5th, 2005)


Rodriguez-Lopez, Omar A: Guitars
Bixler Zavala, Cedric: Vocals
Theodore, Jon: Drums
Alderete de la Pea, Juan: Bass
Owens, Isaiah Ikey: Keyboards
Rodriguez-Lopez, Marcel: Percussion

Harlow, Harry: Piano and Treated Clavinet
on L' Via L' Viaquez and Cassandra Geminni
Frusciante, John: First 2 Guitar Solos
on L' Via L' Viaquez
Flea: Trumpet on The Widow and
Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore
Castro, Lenny: Added Percussion on All Tracks
Terrazas, Adrian: Tenor Saxophone and
Flute on Cassandra Geminni

Moreno, Fernando
Hernandez, Erick
Casillas, Diego
Molina, Ernesto
Derouin, Joel
Cani, Roberto
de Leon, Mario
Kent, Peter
Vergara, Josefina

Hernandez, Salvador (Chava)
Bergeron, Wayne

Jones, Randy: Tuba

Corbett, Larry
Katayama, Suzie

Manning, Roger: Piano
Lane, Nicholas: Trombone
Reichenbach, William: Bass Trombone
Producer: Rodriguez-Lopez, Omar A
Mixing by: Costey, Rich
Mastering by: Weinberg, Howie
Mars Volta, The - Frances the Mute  CD  Cover Image
01. Cygnus...Vismund Cygnus
a. Sarcophagi
b. Umbilical Syllables
c. Facilis Descenus Averni
d. Con Safo
02. The Widow
03. L' Via L' Viaquez
04. Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore
a. Vade Mecum
b. Pour Another Icepick
c. Pisacis (Phra-men-ma)
d. Con Safo
05-12. Cassandra Geminni
a. Tarantism
b. Plant a Nail in the Navel Stream
c. Faminepulse
d. Multiple Spouse Wounds
e. Sarcophagi

Length: 76:55
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