Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Message to The Mars Volta...

You win. I give up. No mas. Actually, my feelings can be best summed up ("summing up" not being one of the MV's strong suits) with four simple words: less prog, more rock.

You have finally beaten me into submission with this new album. And while "Amputechture" is hands-down their best actual album title to date, I just cannot fight through the time waste one must endure - the self-indulgent, self-important noodling and just dicking their way to nowhere that has to make up three-fourths of the record - to get to the good moments. And there are good moments, to be sure. It's not like they've lost their ability to kick ass or create truly beautiful music when they want to. It just seems as if their priorities have shifted to the point where actual songs are secondary to impressing the world with their genius, fleet fingers, multi-octave vocal range, etc.

"De-Loused in the Comatorium" is one of the best records of this decade. But you could feel the slide from alt-rock with prog tendencies toward full-blown jam-band j/o sessions - their live shows were perhaps the best barometer of their ambitions. Which is sad for me. At The Drive-In were so great...kind of a mish-mash of what Fugazi might have sounded like playing Rage Against the Machine songs with an additionally nice chaotic punk approach. The Mars Volta still had that feel when they first got rolling. But now...

I listened to way too much Yes, Rush, Genesis, Jethro Tull, etc., in my youth to be able to stomach this. I left that shit behind for good reason. I do not care for bombast. I cannot tolerate the notion that songs cannot be respectable unless they're at least eight minutes long (all the better when you can cram multiple "parts" into the song to make it a Suite...the kind of approach to music that would make Wagner and Rick Wakeman and Neil Peart proud). But I do love the fuck out of Tool, though. The message there being, I guess, that it can be okay to take things to a more "epic" level if you absolutely have to...just so long as you actually fucking get somewhere with it...

It is with a decent amount of sadness that I throw in The Mars Volta towel. I always loved the fact that they were so impossible to categorize that they fit in perfectly well when opening shows for everyone from A Perfect Circle to the Red Hot Chili Peppers to System of a Down. Maybe next time they'll be hitting the road with Widespread Panic or the Allman Brothers or something.

And I'll miss them righteous 'fros.

Good luck, guys. Keep being true to yourselves and I'll do the same. Maybe we can sync up again somewhere down the road...

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