Whenever a band with avant-garde tendencies deep into its career even breathes the word “pop” when describing new music, there are some who worryingly batter around words like “compromise” in reply. But that’s just a sign of a lack of imagination — something The Mars Volta has never held in short supply, especially on their self-titled seventh album.
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Across fourteen tracks the duo of guitarist/composer Omar Rodríguez-López and singer/lyricist Cedric Bixler-Zavala piece together a reinvention as much as their own deviously poignant reimagining of that complicated three-lettered genre.
From the very start with album opener, “Blacklight Shine” the album’s pop-leanings hinge deeply on The Mars Volta’s reliance on dizzying Caribbean rhythms and multi-instrumental hooks. On the rushing anthemics of “Graveyard Love,” they explode as rapid drums and spacey-electronica; while on “Vigil” they take the form of a shudderingly melancholic, guitar-grinding anthem that’s kept aloft by Cedric’s bleak but soaring cries.
On the album’s back half The Mars Volta is no less mesmeric with the kind of experimentation that produced their brand of pop. From “Cerulea,” a dreary but hook-filled trudge through bleak rock movements, to the slow dance through brassy calls and clamorous percussion that occurs on “Palm Full of Crux.” Other standouts include the lilting somberness of “Tourmaline,” the ecstatic and sprawling anthem “Collapsible Shoulders,” and sporadic rhythms of album closer “The Requisition.”
The Mars Volta will be playing three nights at The Hollywood Palladium in October. Visit The Mars Volta on their website, Twitter, and Instagram to stay updated on new releases and tour announcements.
The Mars Volta tour
September 22 – The Factory in Deep Ellum – Dallas, TX
September 23 – The Factory in Deep Ellum – Dallas, TX – SOLD OUT
September 25 – Tabernacle – Atlanta, GA – SOLD OUT
September 27 – The Metropolitan Opera House – Philadelphia, PA
September 29 – Terminal 5 – New York, NY – SOLD OUT
September 30 – Terminal 5 – New York, NY – SOLD OUT
October 1 – MGM Music Hall at Fenway – Boston, MA
October 3 – The Anthem – Washington, DC
October 5 – Massey Hall – Toronto, ON
October 6 – Royal Oak Music Theatre – Detroit, MI – SOLD OUT
October 8 – Aragon Ballroom – Chicago, IL – SOLD OUT
October 9 – The Eagles Ballroom – Milwaukee, WI – ADDED SHOW
October 11 – The Mission Ballroom – Denver, CO – SOLD OUT
October 14 – Moore Theatre – Seattle, WA – SOLD OUT
October 15 – Moore Theatre – Seattle, WA – SOLD OUT
October 18 – The Warfield – San Francisco, CA – SOLD OUT
October 19 – The Warfield – San Francisco, CA
October 21 – Hollywood Palladium – Los Angeles, CA – SOLD OUT
October 22 – Hollywood Palladium – Los Angeles, CA – SOLD OUT
October 23 – Hollywood Palladium – Los Angeles, CA – SOLD OUT
Words by Steven Ward
Listen to The Mars Volta’s new album The Mars Volta below!