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Saturday, 23 April 2011

The Mars Volta - Amputechture 2006

What is it?
This is the third album by big haired prog rockers The Mars Volta. The Mars Volta consists of Cedric Bixler-Zavala on vocals and Omar Rodríguez-López on guitar along with loads of other band members. 
Why should you listen?
As with all Mars Volta albums there is a certain pleasure to pain ration. Amputechture starts off slowly with Vicarious Atonement but this is just a warm up for Tetragrammaton. Filled with Mars Volta staples of fiddly twiddly guitars, squeaky voices and tons of prog rock fun for nearly seventeen minutes, the song only really gets going after eight minutes, it is the first cracker on the album. From that description, I’ve just made The Mars Volta sound incredibly unappealing and I must admit, when I first heard them, it took ages for me to get into them. I’m talking weeks. But stick with it and you will be rewarded. The more you listen to it, the more you find to appreciate: instruments or parts that you have failed to hear for the first twenty listens, song structures that are a tad convoluted and bits of intense pain (experimental jazzy bits) followed by moments of catchy pleasure. Bear in mind that ‘catchy’ for The Mars Volta involves liking that part after ten or more listens.
What’s it like?
Some of the most inaccessible music you’re likely to find, but still end up liking after enough listens. Not as inaccessible as their previous, superior album ‘Frances the Mute’. Now, that one is a challenge...
What’s the best song?
‘Meccamputechture’ which reveals its catchy hook instantly and then forces you to listen to another nine minutes of experimental goodness before it returns. Again, I’m not making this sound very appealing. When the hook does kick back in, accompanied by some quality organ action, it’s the best bit of the album. Play loud. As always.
Who does it sound like?
Portugal the Man, Fall of Troy, Baroness

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