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Francis The Mute:The Mars Volta

Artist: The Mars Volta

Date Released: March 1, 2005

Label: Universal/GSL

Produced By: Omar A. Rodriguez-Lopez


  1. Cygnus...Vismund Cygnus:Sarcophagi
  2. Cygnus...Vismund Cygnus:Umbilical Syllables
  3. Cygnus...Vismund Cygnus:Facilis Descenus Averni
  4. Cygnus...Vismund Cygnus:Con Safo
  5. The Widow
  6. L'Via L'Viaquez
  7. Miranda that Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore:Vade Mecum
  8. Miranda that Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore:Pour Another Icepick
  9. Miranda that Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore:Pisacis (Phra-Men-Ma)
  10. Miranda that Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore:Con Safo
  11. Cassandra Geminni:Tarantism
  12. Cassandra Geminni:Plant a Nail in the Navel Stream
  13. Cassandra Geminni:Faminepulse
  14. Cassandra Geminni:Multiple Spouse Wounds
  15. Cassandra Geminni:Sarcophagi


So here it is. Nearly two years in the making, Frances the Mute, will be the defining album in the The Mars Volta’s career. They have established themselves with De-Loused in the Comatorium, and now Omar A. Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala have to show the world that the band has not even come close to peaking yet. So what do they do? Release an album that is not only a creative progression of their psychedelic rock meets Latin free-jazz sound but that could actually be better than De-Loused. The same cast returns from the previous album (except Jeremy Michael Ward, R.I.P) along with the addition of Omar’s little brother Marcel and a slew of other, mostly Latin, musicians. The record is based around a diary Ward found when he was working as a repot man that was a terrifying account of the world through an anonymous man’s eyes. Rodriguez-Lopez composed and produced the album himself, with of course the unparalleled creative input of the multi-lingual lyricist/vocalist Zavala. The album kicks off with three 13-minute tracks and The Widow which clearly sounds like Universal-enforced radio single. The second half of the album, which is basically the fifth song, streams continuously as if there were no breaks at all. Overall it is an hour and fifteen minutes of beautifully constructed neo-psychedelic post-everything that is as technical as it is spiritual and as hypnotic as it is intense. Most amazing is the immensly popular reception from a mass audience unparalleled with this type of progressive music. Maybe general music listeners are reaching for something more challenging after suffering through the mindless vocal-pop of the 90s and the simple pop-punk of the first half of the 00s. Michael Ardaiolo

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