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The Mars Volta

Life-altering, mind-fucking music has been perfected into its most fine form.

The Mars Volta, who grew famous thanks to its word-of-the-mouth association and amazing live performances, is back with their sophomore release, Frances the Mute. Frances continues the group's complex and creative songwriting structure of their debut album, De-Loused in the Comatorium, but all similarities and comparisons end right there.

Frances is a perfect representation of the group in concert--all songs are transformed into the most extraordinary jams, much like Led Zeppelin in their prime. Frances is only a five-track album, but other than the group's radio single, "The Widow," all the tracks surpass 10 minutes in length.

What inspired the lyrics of the album makes for a more interesting listening experience. Late band member Jeremy Ward found a diary in the backseat of a car while working as a repo man. Ward let his bandmates in on his findings and felt he had a lot in common with the author. Vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala transformed the author's words into lyrics of abandonment and addiction.

If that isn't a head-trip, Bixler-Zavala mixes English and Spanish lyrics on "Cygnus ... Vismund Cygnus" and "L'Via L'Viaquez."

"Cassandra Geminni" is a 32-minute opus that closes the album and showcases the band's unpredictability of direction. "There's no light in the darkest of your furthest reaches," Bixler-Zavala harmonizes in the song's chorus.

Frances the Mute is a much needed masterpiece for any fan of music. Fuckin' trippy ...

More by Jon Hobson

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