One of the freshest new rock bands in years is the Mars Volta, a sort of space punk band that blasts in and out and leaves you dizzy. The EP "Tremulant" is a fierce little chunk of music that blends together a dozen different musical styles into a big glorious stew.
The EP features a mere three songs. "Cut That City" has a steady buildup before exploding to life. "Concertina" is a more conventional rock song, but it's always ready to twist when it seems to become ordinary. Closing track "Eunuch Provocateur" is a mind-blowing example of what Mars Volta does best: rapid-fire, loud and strange, with plenty of dizzying instrumental stretches.
The Mars Volta is not what most people think of as a rock band. They rock, sure. But they cram in about every musical style that shouldn't fit together: punk, funk, psychedelica Latin, a touch of jazz. And at the heart of it is art-rock. Rather than defying the standards of rock music, the Mars Volta grabs those standards and twists them into a Dali-esque sculpture.
It has the weird, science-fictiony lyrics that Mars Volta does so well, but it's hard to hear them. Cedric Bixler's high, thin voice bobs in and out of the explosive music, and at times you can catch little hints of things that don't seem to make sense. No matter. His voice sounds almost like another instrument being played, whether he's wailing or murmuring.
"Tremulant" is a good intro to Mars Volta's full-length debut, the magnificent sonic avalanche "De-Loused in the Comatorium." The only problem is the hunger for more it leaves in its wake.