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Frances The Mute

4.7 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 1 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Universal Music Canada
  • ASIN: B0007GAEW6
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #18,495 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Cygnus...Vismund Cygnus
2. A. Sarcophagi
3. B. Umbilical Syllables
4. C. Facilia Descenus Averni
5. D. Con Safo
6. The Widow
7. L'Via L'Viaquez
8. Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore
9. A. Tathata Sunyata
10. B. Pour Another Icepick
11. C. Pisacis (Phra-men-ma)
12. D. Con Safo
13. Cassandra Gemini
14. A. Tarantism
15. B. Plant A Nail In the Navel Stream
16. C. Faminepulse
17. D. Multiple Spouse Wounds
18. E. Sarcophagi

Product Description

Product Description

Japanese special edition pressing adds a bonus DVD (region 2) with3 live tracks and an audio only track. Universal. 2005.


If one needed further proof of the contemporary revival/reassessment of the ambitiously overwrought sensibilities once so reviled in 70's rock, this aggressively mind-bending second album by The Mars Volta offers it up in spades. Band mainstays Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Baxter-Zavala insist that labels like "prog" don't interest them, and that this is emphatically not a "sequel" to 2003's De-Loused in the Comatorium. What it is was thematically inspired by a stranger's diary allegedly found by late bandmate Jeremy Ward, the basis for an expansive, often amorphous musical head-trip that brews psychedelia, trance, hard-rock and free-jazz into a daunting new whole. The dozen tracks here represent but five "songs" proper, though the band's disdain for conventional track banding inspire it to sound more like a stream-of-consciousness soundscape from Can--or a dark, lyrically inventive, if decidedly troubled corner of their ids. On the "Umbilical Syllables" portion of "Cygnus.." and "The Widow" Bixter-Zavala invokes the wailing, Zeppelin II & III spirit of Robert Plant set against a feverish, swirling melange that's anything but the blues. The vocalist coaxes "L' Via l'Viaquez" en Espanol, while his band indulges its space-mambo conceits with an evocative spirit that recalls Latin Playboys at their most mischievous. It's an album that loops back on itself in a haunting ellipse--and one whose boundless ambition makes Pink Floyd sound like three-chord bar punters by comparison. --Jerry McCulley

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This album is a triumph, no doubt about it. De-loused in the Comatorium was a fantastic debut album that made a lot of people take notice of The Mars Volta, and rightly so. With Frances the Mute, they have established in my books their undesputable status as the best new band out there right now, hands down. Not two minutes into the first track I was sold, even having heard the single The Widow on their site already. Their recent success with De-loused is evident by them taking liberty to write what seems like only half the lyrics in English! A bold move, but definetely adds to their unique feel. I can't think of another band that sounds quite like them, but if I had to describe them I would say Pink Floyd crossed with Santana (for the Latin influences).
I had heard their first album described as "prog-punk", if there is such a thing, and it seemed like the best description I had heard. With Frances the Mute, I would definetely place them squarely in the prog-rock category, with a hint of punk splashed in. No matter how you classify their music, if you liked De-loused in the Comatorium, or are just a fan of great prog music in general, you will love Frances the Mute.
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By A Customer on Jan. 29 2005
Format: Audio CD
frances the mute is the ultimate album if you like to just sit and be taken to a different world... having noly five tracks on the cd, as said on The Mars Volta site, the album is one million hours long!... its the greatest thign if you just love to sit back, relax and be taken somewhere far away without moving...
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By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on March 27 2007
Format: Audio CD
The Mars Volta hit the jackpot with their debut -- a thrashing, hypnotic, hallucinatory sprawl of prog-rock. People loved it, and many said it was genius. Which, of course, makes the expectations for Album No. 2 even higher -- how can you capture lightning in a bottle more than once?

"Frances the Mute" does a pretty good job of doing just that. Without sacrificing the creepy overtones and wild sound, the Mars Volta opts for a new, stranger sound that is a bit less rock and a bit more prog. "L'Via L'Viaquez" has a sizzling riff that is louder than anything else on the album, while "Cygnus...Vismund Cygnus" sounds like a metal band going slowly insane.

Not that they've lost their metal/funk/punk/Latin/experimental edge -- some parts of it are just more prominent. Mostly it's the prog and funk... and just try to imagine what that sounds like. Songs like the half-hour "Cassandra Gemini" happily flit from one style to another, with a sense of true rock grandeur, while songs like "Miranda that Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore" has an ambient flavor.

Perhaps the one problem is that instead of one sprawling concept album, like their first, this is apparently multiple "acts" put together. A few songs simply putter out, like lackluster "The Widow." But the explosive energy of almost every other song is enough to make up for "The Widow's" flaws.

In a nutshell, you don't know what to expect from the Mars Volta in any given song. They can draw you in with a simple riff or quiet melody, before launching into a screaming, frenetic jumble of Latin-prog-psychedelica-acid-jazz. It's dizzying; the instrumentation is as wild and abstract as their dark, bizarre songwriting.
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Format: Audio CD
This is the best prog album since Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here (1975). And there are some similarities between both of them. Guitarist Omar Rodriguez was born in 1975. Both albums contain five songs. Both albums are inspired by a tragic loss of a friend and band member. I am not a fan of At The Drive In ( I don't like punk) and I was completely shocked to discover that ATDI gave birth to the best prog group of the last 20 years. They have the vibe of 70's music- from Led Zeppelin (Rodriguez mentions Jimmy Page as main influence) to Pink Floyd as well as Yes , Santana, Uriah Heep, Rush and many more. But they're not copying any of these groups. Omar Rodriguez is an incredible guitarist and songwriter, he plays relentlessly and the combination of his psychedelic /agressive sound with the amazing voice of singer Cedric Bixler and his twisted lyrics takes you to a wonderful musical journey. Just set the volume high and forget about reality. You don't even need do decipher all of the complex lyrics, some words made up by Bixler. They only serve to guide your fantasy and emotions. Every time I listen to the album I discover a different aspect of their music. Absolutely stunning experience. And, amazingly, despite the overall sad mood of the album, it won't depress you. I can't stop listening to this masterpiece! De-Loused in Comatorium was alredy a masterpiece, but Frances The Mute is even better! And all musicians playing on the album are amazing, especially drummer John Theodore , basist Juan Alderete and keyboardist Ikey Owens. The album turned out to be so great that they decided not to put the title song on it (although the lyrics are present in the booklet). It is true in a way that the song doesn't fit in, but it's also excelent and you can get it on the single The Widow.
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Format: Audio CD
I have to express initial disappointment with Frances the Mute. I immediately loved De-loused, but while Frances shares some sensibility with that CD, it tries it's best to be as tuneless as possible. De-loused, even with its intricate arrangements and spastic riffing still managed the near-impossible feat of having hooks in the vocals. I found it hard to get the songs out of my head. Days later, I can't say the same of Frances. It seems like Mars Volta have taken the elements that I disliked from the last CD (and I am not delusional in that I think they did this solely for my benefit) and made them the primary focus for this new one, missing the things that made De-loused so great I n my mind.
This is a challenging work, no question about it and I may grow to like it more than I do now, but if like me you didn't love every aspect of De-Loused, you may want to pass. Those that thoroughly devoured the last CD will probably relish the effort it will take to really get into Frances the Mute. While I think this is a mis-step, I applaud Mars Volta for trying to push their style further into even more challenging areas and not follow up with a complete retread of what they have done previously. If they could stop with the 3-minute interludes of ambient noise and sounds, I think the next CD may be the worthy successor to De-loused.
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