I don’t even need to get into my love for The Mars Volta with you all again. Sure their review for the Ventura Theatre show wasn’t all gold, but it was on the fault of the mighty Volta. And while I’ve been listening to it for a few weeks now, today marks the release of their 5th studio album, Octahedron.
It’s been called their acoustic album, but “there’s electricity throughout it!” as they band has quoted. By acoustic, they mean that it is mainly a chill guitar playing the whole time, with the majority of the album taking a more structure approach than usual.
The lineup this time around remains at Omar Rodriguez- Lopez on lead axe, Cedric Bixler-Zavala with the nutty mic antics, Ikey going insane on the keyboards, Juan Alderate playing bass with that badass Mexican flag on his amp, my homeboy Thomas Pridgen kicking ass but showing restraint on the drums, Omars brother Marcel on the synth and percussion, rounded out with John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers on the guitar (mainly in the studio though).
Personally, I didn’t like the album at first, but after a day or two it started to grow on me. After about two weeks I figured my favorite tracks to be highlighted (or is it highlit?).
The intro track, Since We’ve Been Wrong, sets the initial tone for the claim to this album being an acoustic album. The guitar play is gorgeous, both acoustic and electric. What’s more, once Thomas kicks in towards the end with the drums, the synth joins in to lead to an epic conclusion of the first track. Mixed with sultry and strong lyrics, this song made it to the top of my favorites for this album.
Halo of Nembutals, the third track was a great song all around , but really got me hype with the drum outro at about 4:52, mixed with Ikey getting a beautiful and disorganized piano exit of his own.
Cotopaxi, one of the singles and the sixth track on the album was a big surprise to me, because this song starts and finishes hard, and obviously is well outside the bounds of acoustic traits. It’s also the perfect partner to get your heart racing, after the calm ending of With Twilight As My Guide. It also has a kick ass video taking place (I believe) south of the border. Take a look.
Finally, my favorite track that sticks to me every day for the last two weeks whilst driving in my car has been the second track, Teflon. I don’t know if it’s the smooth echoing guitars in the beginning, or the strange drum timing of the song, but its addictive. The chorus has been ringing in my head, and paints a simple but powerful picture.
Let the wheels burn,
Let the wheels burn,
Stack the tires to the neck,
With a body inside.
The simple chorus and title of the song I believe are allusions to certain political officials, as the word Teflon is usually clamped to political officials who are not taken seriously, with a tendency for their criticism to be glue less.
Overall, The Mars Volta still has that edge that I’ve loved over the years, and with this acoustic album, they re-solidify their place in the Progressive Rock game. Go out and get the album, and let it grow on you. I promise after about a week, you’ll be singing choruses too.
Until next time my friends,