Frances The Mute Review

artist: The Mars Volta date: 12/13/2007 category: compact discs
The Mars Volta: Frances The Mute
Released: Mar 1, 2005
Genre: Rock
Styles: Post-Rock/Experimental, Neo-Psychedelia, Post-Hardcore
Number Of Tracks: 15
That passion is evident throughout Frances the Mute; it's the organic fever that was buried on Comatorium.
 Sound: 9.3
 Lyrics: 8.9
 Overall Impression: 9.3
 Overall rating:
 9.4 
 Reviewer rating:
 9.2 
 Users rating:
 9.5 
 Votes:
 151 
reviews (18) 28 comments vote for this album:
overall: 10
Frances The Mute Reviewed by: unregistered, on march 25, 2005
11 of 11 people found this review helpful

Sound: Mars Volta never ceases to amaze me with their music. The band is a mix of progressive, rock, jazz, funk, psychadelic, and experimental with a strong latin background. Overall, the band should go under the category of good. The album follows a concept inspired by a diary Jeremy Ward, their sound programmer, found in a touring van. He found many similarities between the writer and himself. Ward died from a drug overdose before work on the album commenced. Omar Alfredo Lopez-Rodriguez, guitarist/writer, wrote the music out of the feelings he had following Ward's death. It defenitely shows. The songs are tighter and more thought-out than De-Loused. Frances The Mute is about a man who searches for his birth mother (named Frances The Mute). He obtains guidance from five people (Vismund Cygnus, A Widower, Lady L'Via, Miranda, and Cassandra Geminni), each of which has a song dedicated to them. Cygnus... Vismund Cygnus is a great unofficial intro to the album. The title track was supposed to be the first song but ironically didn't make the album due to the impossibility of a 92 minute disc, but is set for a future release. Cygnus starts with an acoustic and mandolin intro that explodes into a furious Buckethead-like riff not complete without spanish chants and shouts. After the second verse, Cygnus finds it's way into a broken record segway that allows a guitar solo by Omar and a build-up back into the intense chorus. The song ends with a 5/4 groove fadeout and an onslaught of beeps and whistles. Traffic sounds lead right into The Widow which is incorrect as it talks about a man. However, Mars Volta uses words like languished and freckling so screw me. The ballad inludes a Jimmy Page sounding solo and a trumpet solo by Flea (who also is on Miranda). The song ends in a three-minute instrumental part tha sounds like Interstellar Overdrive mixed with the circus. L'Via L'Viaquez starts with a fade-in of drums and explodes (a reoccurring theme) into a John Frusciante solo (who lends another solo on this song) and a latin rock verse. The verse descends into a piano dominated chorus. The song follows a solo-verse-chorus pattern until it ends with the chirping of birds which also starts off Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore. Miranda's intro is comprised off moans and a slide guitar with heavy delay. The song is very eerie and mysterious while layered with trumpets and effects. The same 5/4 groove from Cygnus conludes Miranda when the 30-minute finale, Cassandra Geminni, starts. Cassandra is longer than any of Pink Floyd's epics (Atom Heart Mother and Echoes) which is a very hard task to accomplish. Luckily, for the impatient few who prefer two to three minute pop songs Cassandra is split into eight tracks (not to be confused with eight songs or eight parts). Cassandra is one that the listener can only describe to themselves. This and the rest of the songs will create atmospheres and character depictions in your mind. // 10

Lyrics: Cedric Bixler-Zavala's lyrics and vocals are the best in music today. His falsetto might take time to get used to. But, after that you'll come to love the harmonies he makes and the notes he hits so cleanly. The lyrics are outstanding. You really get a sense of story and hope in this album through the album. What's more is that Bixler-Zavala sounds exactly like Robert Plant, especially in his vocal/guitar trade-offs, the wailing, and the passion. // 10

Overall Impression: Frances, at least in the layout of the songs, is reminiscent to pre-Dark Side/post-Barrett Pink Floyd. The whole album should be listened to in one sitting. The guitar work is comparable to Jimmy Page, David Gilmour, and the odd and easier side of Buckethead. The lyrics are smarter than Ken Jennings and Ben Stein put together. Frances The Mute might turn off listeners that would rather not listen to an album where four songs make it over 12 minutes and the shortest is six minutes. The Mars Volta are made up of musical geniuses and Frances The Mute is just the second album in a line of a great things to come. // 10

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overall: 10
Frances The Mute Reviewed by: Heaviest Thing, on august 18, 2005
2 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: This is one of the most mind boggeling albums I've ever heard in my life! It's so good and the guitar in it is so flippin good that it's misunderstood (read it really fast it helps fill the emotion). Overall this is just a good album filled with some of the craziest guitar since Jimmy Page, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez is just insane and get this he produces this album to. Can I here a Jimmy Page follower (not that's bad, infac't its good). The music is just insane I couldn't describe it to you, even if I was on speed I still couldn't tell you about it. You just need to listen to it. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics are wacky some are spanish with english some lines are all spanish and some just hard to tell but dead good. The singer Cedric Bexler Zavala is a great singer that can deffentley hit the high notes. Somtimes the lyrics are incredably hard to understand but thats sometimes good. Overall it's just darn good lyrics and singing. // 10

Overall Impression: I haven't heard there other albums I will be sure to check them out but I like this one so theres deffentley a chance. The music makes me want to go out and play my guitar insane and sing the highest note possible itsa just so cool what they do on this album. I suggest getting this album (by the way its cheap like $8.50). So just check it out its awsome. // 10

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overall: 10
Frances The Mute Reviewed by: unregistered, on march 21, 2005
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: Wow was all that I could say after listening to Frances The Mute. Although, you might get impatient listening to it, often it has 3-5 minutes of nothing but distorted noises, birds chirping and people screaming, the sound was just absolutely amazing. Even the first 3 minutes of Cygnus... Vismund Cygnus are breathtaking! // 10

Lyrics: I will agree with the other people on here. If you didn't pay attention in Spanish class, you didn't know what the hell was going on. But they made perfect sense to me. The lyrics, although sometimes random, are beautiful, creepy and intense all at the same time. Cedric's voice fits the lyrics so well it's scary. But high-intensity lyrics call for high-intensity vocals. // 10

Overall Impression: I didn't want to do it because people will think I'm just an idiot who will love any piece of crap he puts in his CD player, but I am going to have to give this CD all excellent ratings. It is no doubt the best CD of 2005. But if people ask me if "American Idiot" is the best, I'll still say yes. Only because it's impossible to compare Frances The Mute to anything else. It's just too different from anything anyone has put out. I can't believe that I was deciding for 30 minutes whether to buy Breaking Benjamin's "We Are Not Alone" or Frances The Mute, and ending up buying "We Are Not Alone" instead! Believe me, "We Are Not Alone" is a superb CD, but it doesn't compare to Frances The Mute. I probably could spend 76:55 minutes every day for the rest of my life listening to Frances the Mute. Don't miss out. Go buy it! // 10

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overall: 4
Frances The Mute Reviewed by: unregistered, on march 28, 2005
1 of 18 people found this review helpful

Sound: On De-Loused In The Comatorium, The Mars Volta demonstrated that they are an force to be reckoned with its hook laced songs, amazing guitar parts, and unique style, it's defintly one of my favourite albums. But, Unlike Comatorium, Frances The Mute is a nearly complete and udder mess. Little to no musicianship is shown during the excrutiatingly long improvisational solo's, and the sound effects, which take up a quarter of the album, could easily be duplicated at home on your computer. // 4

Lyrics: The lyrics are, plain and simple, bil-lingual gibberish. Their supposed to be. Bixler uses his high pitched howl as an instrument. But this is supposedly a "concept album." If you do a concept album, at least make it clear what the concept is! The plot is about a man who tries to track down his long lost parents. And, somehow, a male prostitute from an old noir plays into it. Hmm. // 4

Overall Impression: This album is a dissapointing, pretentious peice of trash. The only good song is the 30 minute improv peice, and it's hard to enjoy a 30 minute song. Some of you may call me close minded, but its quite the opposite, most who like the album like it simply because its a big fancy concept album with big fancy effects and is by the art rock band at the moment. Buy De-Loused instead. // 4

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overall: 8
Frances The Mute Reviewed by: PopNFresh07, on november 08, 2005
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: I wasn't sure what to expect when I first got Frances The Mute. When I had gotten it, it was too late to listen to it right away, so I waited for the next day. I hadn't heard much from De-Loused In The Commatorium, but I wasn't sure whether I liked them or not. I couldn't get enough of their fast paced, space-aged sounding songs (Cicatriz ESP, Interetiac ESP), but didn't really like the slower ones (Concertina, The Widow). So I put the disc into my CD player, and was a little worried. It started off slow and acoustic, and I had trouble making out what Cedric was saying, which I can't now. It may be because I don't pay enough attention, or probably just the start of Cygnus... Vismund Cygnus is lower than the actual song, but once it started, it barely slowed down. It's a different CD than anything I've ever heard. Maybe I just didn't hear much? I dislike the sound effects, especially after the Widow. I don't need to listen to two minutes straight of crickets chirping. That's probably the only downfall. Cygnus... Vismund Cygnus is a, literal, fast paced, high pitched, song with awesome vocals. Some of the song is in Spanish, some in English. The Spanish part is my favourite. The song picks up and doesn't stop for five minutes, until there's some of those weird sound effects, to do with the story. The Widow is a moving song, and a disturbing video. I have no clue what the lyrics mean, but it sounds very sad, especially before the solo, where Cedric screams "I'm blood shot for sure." Then a pretty cool guitar solo from Omar. L'via L'viaquez is my favourite song on the album. Sound effects for the first thirty seconds, then breaks into an amazing John Frusciante solo, and then into an all spanish verse. It slows down for the chorus, which is Tangoesque. Unbelievably amazing, especially when Cedric's voice gets distorted near the end. A few more mini solos, I don't know who does those, and then there's a piano/keyboards solo near the end, which was probably the best. Miranda, That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore is my least favourite song. As I said, I'm not a fan of their slower songs, and a thirteen minute song which was pretty slow, and accoustic, I'm pretty sure, isn't what I'm looking for. I've listened to it a few times, but not enough to give you a good feel of what the song is like. I don't like it, that's all I know. Cassandra Gemini has riffs that will litterally blow you away. Turn the stereo down and step away, anyone with a pacemaker shoud leave the room. It starts with probably my favourite line from the album, where it is litterally screeched out "I think I've become one of the others" three times in a row, before it breaks into a slower, evil sounding part of the song about a hooker. Then it hits the climax. Cedric's high pitched wails go on about maggots falling from the sky, and how paniced the wounded will be. Jimmy Page described Stairway to Heaven as a band at it's best, and I believe Cassandra Gemini is the Mars Volta at it's best. The instruments sound great, and I love the drumming in the song. // 8

Lyrics: There isn't much to say about the lyrics, as I don't understand what The Widow is about, L'Via L'Viaquez is mostly spanish, and I don't understand Casandra and don't like Miranda. I enjoy what I can understand about Cygnus. His mother, a prosititute, gets raped, and then has an abortion, but the abortion survives. The singer is amazing, in my own opinion. // 8

Overall Impression: I couldn't think of anything to compare this with, although if I listened to more Pink Floyd or even Rush, I'd might be able to find something to compare it with. L'Via L'Viaquez and Cassandra Gemini are the most impressive songs on the album. I love nearly everything about it, yet they could have cut back on the sound effects. If it were lost or stolen, I would just download the album to get it back. // 8

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overall: 9.3
Frances The Mute Reviewed by: catempire, on january 14, 2006
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: The music to put it simply is amazing, when it's playing. There is too much ambience and gaps of randoms effects for my liking, although the music itself makes up for this. And in some cases the effects are definately fitting. Frances the Mute is a concept album based around a diary found by their sound engineer Jeremy Ward and is basically about a man trying to find his biological parents. The thing I like most about The Mars Volta is the combination of styles and the way in which the album has many ups and downs. There can be huge soaring vocals and chaotic riffs and drumming, and then seconds later have faded almost completely, then when the time is right the band can explode again. I find the softer songs just entertaining has the faster, heavier ones. Overall I would rate the album a 9, taking away 1 for the overuse (and often inappropriately long use) of sounds effect breaks. // 9

Lyrics: The lyrics are difficult to interpret. Without reading some of the plot it would be very difficult to know it. Despite this the lyrics and singing seems to fit the music (although I can't really cover the Spanish lyrics. Cedric is certainly an excellent singer for the band. There are probably better singers around, but I believe it would be difficult to find one to fit the band like he does. He has a great ranges which adapts to the different feels that the instruments create. I would take one point away for some of the lyrics where it seems a thesaurus has been a bit overused. // 9

Overall Impression: My favourite songs would be the first four, although the Widow doesn't fit perfectly between Cygnus. Vismund Cygnus and L'Via L'Viaquez. I do enjoy the others, but I prefer the first half of the album. Overall this album deserves a 10, simply for the amazing contrasts, the great creativity and musicianship and for leaving me completely satisfied every time I listen to it. // 10

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overall: 10
Frances The Mute Reviewed by: Something_Vague, on march 09, 2005
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Okay, for those of you that don't know The Mars Volta, is the follow-up band of the critically acclaimed indie band, At The Drive-In, (my favorite band of all time). The singer (Cedric Bixlar-Zavala) and guitarist (Omar Roedriguez-Lopez) are both from ATD-I. The band released a EP following the creation of this band, (Tremulant) shortly after, they released their epic and pure brilliant LP, De-loused in the Comatorium. After 2 years of touring and recording they're finally back with their release of Frances the Mute, and it is also described as a concept album, by Cedric. The sound on this album is, I'd say alot less digitized musically, but there is about 8 minutes of just ambient noise throughout this CD, so that can get irritating when waiting for the next track. This album follows the story of Vismund Cygnus, trying desperatly to find and what happened to his parents, although there are various theorys on the net, this seems the most consistant. Unlike the last album, this is a full on prog-rock journey. It features three 14 minute songs, and the last song was split into 7 different tracks, it was origanally 32 minutes long. It is brilliant solo to hard hitting chorus straight into solo into chorus, it basically never stops unless you hit an icky ambient spot, and there are a few. Omar knows exactly when to play and when not to play, but I think that one thing that diminishes this album's brilliance are the few solos done by John Frushante. (sp? )Great guitarist, he is just very out of place on a few of the songs. Although, Flea(RHCP) plays trumpet on a few of the tracks and does an execellent job doing so. // 10

Lyrics: If I could rate cedric's lyrics any higher I would, his is a lyrical genius, I honestly think no-one in this generation is comparably close to him, in anyway possible. The lyrics are incredibly descriptive, incredibly abstract, and just plain incredible. Not to mention that he is one of the sweetest singers in the past 10 years. Ever since ATD-I was brought out to the public he has had an amazing vocal range, from raspy, to disturbingly high. Amazing lyrics, with an amazing singer. // 10

Overall Impression: This is their best musical album to date, no doubt about it, it is an album that you can listen the entire way through, because it is like one giant song that meshes into each other, everything just clicks so nicely, that it is above me. Each one of these tracks are amazing, but the one that holds has the most grasp on my heart is either: Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore or Cassandra Geminni. These two tracks are around 43 minutes of music, just two tracks. Miranda is just brilliantly beautiful and Cassandra is just so amazing, it goes so quite near the end and then hits you with the best part, the last minute and a half, showcase, the little glisp of At The Drive-In. Although, their single "The Widow" is the worst track on the album, but it is by no means bad, it is just not as good in comparision to the others. I don't have to worry about this being stolen, I've already got two copies, so yeah. This is not only worth the buy, once you've bought this album you'll either be a life time fan, or you'll hate it, there is no inbetween. Although, I suggest buying their first one, it is alittle easier to get into. Overall, this is a brilliant album, the best of 2005 so far, and I don't see many that has a possibility of topping it. // 10

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overall: 8.7
Frances The Mute Reviewed by: unregistered, on march 14, 2005
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: "Frances The Mute" has a much more mature sound from The Mars Volta. This is a mix of free jazz, prog rock and latin. Unlike De-Loused in the Comatorium, this softmore album has much more mainstream style songs with not mainstream lengths. The albums first (and probably only) single "The Widow" is about five minutes long, including the album exclusive outro. All the other songs are around 13 minutes with the exception of "Cassandra Gemini" that is a whopping 32: 32 minutes long. What is missing in the sound of Frances the Mute is the strange, yet familliar riffs of De-Loused. Individual Song Sound Ratings: 01. Cygnus... Vismund Cygnus - the most "De-Loused-ish" sound on the CD with the music. Driving chords and catchy riffs. Reminds me vaugely of Cicatriz ESP. I give it a 5/5. 02. The Widow - very weird guitar with a chord filled chorus, scary music video. 5/5. 03. L'via L'viaquez - a mixture of everything, latin sound with chords and those Mars Volta solos we just love. Turns Santanish in the middle of the song. 5/5. 04. Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore - very Little lyrics, mostly just distorted noise and chirping birds. My least favorite song on the album. 5/5. 05. Cassandra Gemini - everything summed into one big, amazing song! Even though it takes as long as one episode of South Park to listen to. 5/5. Overall it should be a 4.5 but theres no half numbers and I round up. // 10

Lyrics: Cedric sounds more mature, much more mature. I like his voice, droning, sharp, scary at times. This is heard especially in the Widow. The lyrics always fit the music. But they are just weird stuff, sometimes pointless, strange, especially in the last track. Distortion effects are applied to Cedrics voice, but then they are followed by the best singing on the album in Cassandra Gemini. Even though a lot of the lyrics are in spanish, it doesn't matter, because the music makes up for it. The lyrics in this album have no comparison to ones in De-Loused, but that doesn't make them bad at all. // 8

Overall Impression: My overall impression of this album is that it is different than the Mars Volta's first two albums. It just doesn't have the epic feeling you had when you popped De-Loused into the CD player. It is very hard to expain, but when you listen to Frances after De-Loused, you can tell the difference. Its strange. Frances is still good, just not as consistent as De-Loused. Also, the amazingly long tracks take time to listen to, but have great replayability. // 8

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overall: 8.7
Frances The Mute Reviewed by: indiecult99, on march 14, 2005
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: These guys are definetely the future of prog-rock as Guitar World Mag will agree with me. Omar Rodriguez-Lopez is a true genius. I picked up this cd from a friends' recomendation and I have yet to take it out of my stereo. The feel that the music gives you is empty but yet so full of emotion. You can't describe the feeling it gives you in one word. With a great acoustic piece to begin and end in album, these guys are definetely making their way into the big times fast. With Spanish lyrics and english, The Mars Volta, are a band that is worth throwing your classics away for. Electronica, techno, rock, foreign, progressive, experimental, instrumental, jazz, the genre is simply to big. This cd is a powerhouse of emotions. With 15 minute songs leaving you thinking, "How long can this masterpiece go on?" the Mars Volta will leav you stunned with their sound and energy. // 10

Lyrics: Spanish singers have a reputation of their own, as having great vocal ranges and putting you in that state of mind that makes you want to dance. Cedric Bixler-Zavala will make you get out of your car at the red light and do the cha cha at the 4-way. Tight jeans and tattoo's are coming back into style when the general public gets a hold of this one. The album isn't packed with lyrics but the music alone "Speaks" for itself. // 6

Overall Impression: The Mars Volta have a show at the Electric Factory coming up soon, buy the CD, and go out and support the future of rock/electronica. Omar and Cedric will rock your world from the first track until the last. Do yourself a favor and give these guys a shot. Once you do, tell all your friends because these guys deserve the recognition. // 10

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overall: 9.3
Frances The Mute Reviewed by: travislausch, on march 15, 2005
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: This is the best album of 2005 so far, and I doubt very many others will come close to even touching the creativity and thoughtfullness of this album. The 5 songs that comrpise this record are nothing short of brilliant. There is a verry different air about this record, when compared to their previous work, 2003's "Deloused In The Comatorium." The music is more intense, the lyrics are a little more comphrehendable, and there is greater contrast among the songs, from the raging funk verses of "Cygnus... Vismund Cygnus," to the waltz-y gloom of "Miranda, That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore." Even the "lesser" songs (the aforementioned "Miranda..." and the single "The Widow") are excellent. One thing that amazes me is the fact that the album's closer, "Cassanrda Gemini," is well over 30 minutes long, and doesn't get boring, even on repeated listens. // 10

Lyrics: Lyrically, this album is a little more comprehendable (depending on how much Spanish you know), and there aren't as many obscure or made-up words as there were on "Deloused..." There is, however, still a lot of imagery diplayed in the lyrics, and a deep meaning that is far above the "You ruined my life..." variety that is all too common today. Being a conceptual album, I won't give any spoilers. You'll just have to buy the record. The 4 is because you need to know at least some spanish to really get into the lyrics of this record. // 8

Overall Impression: This album is not better or worse than "Deloused..." It is an entirely different affair, and to judge it against their previous work would be unfair. The music is intense, brilliant, and I hope this album is as revered in 50 years as "Dark Side Of The Moon" is today. It may sound like I'm some sort of fanboy, but this album really is good, epecially the album's closer, "Cassandra Gemini." If this album were stolen, I'd buy two more copies and a safe, one to listen to, the other to keep in the safe just in case. // 10

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overall: 10
Frances The Mute Reviewed by: Automatic_Catch, on march 24, 2005
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Many people, me included, have pondered and guessed as to what exactly is the style of music The Mars Volta bring to us. Are they progressive, emo, latin rock, or what? Well, trying to pigeonhole the band into one specific category of music is like trying to make a ball out of jell-o: not only is pointless, it also useless. The fact is that The Mars Volta play in style of The Mars Volta, a fusion of psychedelic, latino influenced, passionate, art rock. Omar Rodriguez Lopez really shines on Frances the Mute as the axe-man of the band. One cannot help but be impressed and in awe after listening to the never-ending line of explosive solos and inspiring riffs. I would also like to applaud the job the bassist and drummer do on this album at keeping the music upbeat and the speeding train that it is. And to aid these already talented and worthy musicians, The Mars Volta enlist the help of Chili Pepper Flea as the trumpeter on the Widow. // 10

Lyrics: The music and lyrics themselves are phenomenal. Mr. Cedric Bixler-Zalava with his Geddy Lee vocals provides us vivid, surreal, and overall very haunting lyrics with every song. The songs themselves tell the story of Cygnus Vismund, an orphan in search of his real parents. The writing is pure genius. He also treats to some Spanish vocals for a few tracks. // 10

Overall Impression: In the midst of era in music when the industry consists of bland, angst rock group, The Mars Volta truly are a breath of fresh. Well, I would say breath of air, but of course no overdone clich does any justice to the band. Rather, The Mars Volta are more like the aromas of several sweet flowers bunched to gather and presented in a concise manner. I know it has been said countless numbers of times about a lot of albums through the years, but Frances The Mute frankly is an artistic masterpiece. This album is an epic for my generation and I sincerely hope for generations to come. // 10

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overall: 10
Frances The Mute Reviewed by: unregistered, on march 28, 2005
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: The sound of FTM is, as mentioned numerous times by others, quite different than that of De-Loused In The Comatorium. I think the best description I've seen thus far is "organic." The various layers of sound occuring at any moment throughout this album just work together to create the impression that these sounds were basically made to be fit together. While many have criticized the use of ambience by MV, it would be a mistake to consider this wasted space. As with the lyrics, it is the use of the indirect, and contrasts, that merely establish further the energy during the main song structures. This is music as art, folks; if you are unable to deal with that, then odds are HMV, Wal-mart, or whatever narrow big box store is in your neighbourhood, has something more up your alley. // 10

Lyrics: As a super geek, I gotta say I absolutely love Bixler's lyrics. How many times they've had me popping open the dictionary, I cannot say, I've simply lost count. Though other reviews argue otherwise, the lyrics are not "pointless." Abstract, yes, but they very much convey the emotion, the mystery that they are intended to. I'm also a fan of the use of Spanish, though living in Canada (we don't have Spanish classes here, it's Francais or the highway) I know literally no Spanish. That being said, I am less pleased that it means that there are substantial chunks of the album I can't sing, thus annoying all around me, with my headphones on. // 10

Overall Impression: I was tempted to give this album a 4. The reason is because DITC held my attention musically for almost 10 months, non-stop. Thus my expectations were huge. For the most part, FTM has met, and on some levels exceded, these expectations. My only complaint is the general lack of variety on the album. While each song has variety, all tangents in each song are nonetheless related, and with only five (six if you count the title track) songs, compared to DITC, this equals a lack of variety. However, in relation to anything else that record companies excrete, this album is simply above and beyond (oh Mars Volta, why must you be affiliated with Universal?) Yes, this is the best major label album of the year. Yes, if you have an open mind and the time to be introduced to it in a single sitting, you won't be disappointed. And, yes, the wait for the next Mars Volta album begins. // 10

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overall: 10
Frances The Mute Reviewed by: unregistered, on august 04, 2005
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: This band is incredible the mix of Spanish flavor and just straight up rock just boils my blood. The incredible solos by my man Omar just could darken a room and awaken a cemetary. Just the power vocals of Cedric could destroy any planet. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics can make even the immortal die to the lyrics of Cedric. The screeching sounds of 23 crows in a casket full of ghosts and punishing word that tell you the story of death. // 10

Overall Impression: Nothing comes close to the volta. No guitar player this day in age can touch Omar and nobody can give you more chills like Cedric. The song that moves earths beneath this cith with a decripate growl is L'via L'viaquez. // 10

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overall: 10
Frances The Mute Reviewed by: unregistered, on august 27, 2005
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: The Mars Volta can and has been called many things but if anything being said is true about them, it would have to be the fact they they are the most origanal band ever, period. To label them as a style I would have to say proggesive/indie/salsa but that isn't really saying much, they are their own style. If there is a story to this album then it escapes me, but I think it has something to do with a diary that one of the Mars Volta's friends found (this is what I hear). Basically this is the most origonal album I have ever heard and boy, is it good. // 10

Lyrics: Most of the lyrics in this song are in Spanish, but you dont have to speak the language to appreciate the beauty of the lyrics on this album. The lyrics fit perfectly in the mood with the music and it all flows together. The singer is very, very skilled and has a really different voice, nothing like I have ever heard. // 10

Overall Impression: There is no overall most impressive song on the album although I do like L'Via L'Viaquez alot. This band is very reminesent of Pink Floyd (the best band ever, so how can these guys be bad?) and however long the songs are, they will keep you coming back for more listens. Some people may be annoyed by the "noises" in this album such as the birds chirping in the begginging of the song Miranda, That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore, but if these people can't appreciate how well it goes along with the rest of the song and the album then it is their problem. In closing, I highly recommened buying this album, espcially if you enjoyed Tremulent or De-Loused. The Mars Volta are the most original, talented band of recent years and of you dont hear these guys, your missing out. // 10

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overall: 9.7
Frances The Mute Reviewed by: silentsteeples, on april 24, 2006
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: I think it's impossible to accurately classify The Mars Volta into a real genre, a la Tool. When you think you got them in a genre, they come out with something so crazy, you can't find a genre to organize them into. The sound is my coinage; experimental post prog psyche-jam. It's that really, they experiment with sounds and Ikey Owens keys, they're prog, and a little psychedelic, then they just jam out. The sound on this album is very straightforward. Not a lot of messing around like Frances the Mute. It's very, "Here's our sound, take it or leave it." I'd take it if I were you. This is definitely a concept album. It's about Julio Venegas, a friend of the band who fell into a drug-induced coma. He is known as Cerpin Taxt during the album. During the coma he discovers his own self and who he is, when he comes out of the coma he is dissatisfied with the world and chooses to end his life (Televators). They jam. It's simple, they jam, there is muchos innovations. Definitely a lot of experimenting here. Cedric offers one of the most amazing voices in music today, rivaling Claudio Sanchez (Coheed and Cambria) and Maynard James Keenan (Tool/A Perfect Circle). Omar Rodriguez-Lopez is an incredible young talent. I'm glad he is sober now, although he wasn't during the making of this album, it's safe to say we'll be seeing this genius for a long time. Ikey Ownes is the keys guy, and he is very good at what he does. He doesn't do much, but when he does, you know. Great keys player. The bassist on this record is the infamous, Flea (RHCP), 'nuff said. Jon the drummer has many influences, ranging from Black Metal to ZZ Top, you can tell he does not have one track mind on this record. I'll give the sound a 9. Only because sometimes the experimenting goes a little too far. // 9

Lyrics: Cryptic. It's simple. Unless you talk to Cedric Bixler-Zavala (singer/lyricist) you will never fully understand the lyrics. I'm sure he has a dictionary/thesaurus with him 24/7. The lyrics are very close with the music. They communicate very well. Mysterious lyrics for mysterious music. Cedric's singing is so amazing, it's just wow. Couldn't find another man for this job. 10; even though some is in Spanish, it's still amazing. // 10

Overall Impression: You can't compare this album to anything. Not even other Volta albums. Everything is so differen. The most impressive songs are "Inertiatic ESP," "Drunkship Of Lanterns," "Televators," and the finale, "Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt." I love everything about this album, it's so mind-blowing, I don't hate anything, but some of the sounds and effects could be downgraded a little. If it was stolen I'd definitely get it again, good thing it's on my iPod. // 10

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overall: 9.3
Frances The Mute Reviewed by: shotgunjoe, on may 09, 2006
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: The Mars Volta started out as At The Drive-In leavers, Cedric and Omar. They were bored of the same old music that ATD-I were churning out and so left to pursue better things. When they brought out the Tremulant EP people didn't really know what to expect, and when people actually heard it, they were blown away. This was so different. It was so experimental, and people loved it. They then proceeded to release De-Loused In The Comatorium, an LP consisting of ten songs, telling the story of a friend who commited suicide after being in a drug-induced coma. This was totally different from ATD-I and surprisingly, the tremulant EP. This was brilliant. Cedrics ultra high yet almost angelic voice was finally being used properly as opposed to anything ATD-I had ever done, and Omar could have been described as the next Jimi Hendrix. They also got the help of Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea to do the tracks from the album. It left lots of room for improvisation and with guitarist Omar Rodriguez and producing megaforce Rick Rubin behind the production process, things couldn't go wrong. They had really paved the way to becoming a force to be reckoned with. Mixing ambience and music to create a "movie in music" worked really well and the critics went wild, and so did I... On the next endeavour titled Frances The Mute, it was different again. Still mixing ambience and music, this time they were telling the story of a diary late bandmate Jeremy Ward found while working as a repo man and started reading. He found he could relate to it all, as it was about a man searching for his birth mother and going to people for help. He had just finished it when he died of a drug overdose in 2003. TMV proceeded to make this record sober, a big step for them as they had made every other album when they were high as kites! They took characters from the diary and put them in the album (Cygnus being the person trying to find his birth mother, Frances The Mute, and going to different people for advice such as the Widow, Lady L'Via (daughter of Miranda, whom he also went to for advice) and Cassandra Gemini. This album was heading more towards a Spanish rock feel, with heavy Latin American influences. Once again they seeked the help of Flea, who provided trumpets on The Widow and (I think) Miranda That Ghost Just Ain't Holy Anymore, and they also recruited John Frusciante to do some guitar work on L'Via L'Viaquez. This is one spectacular album, and with the thirty minute long monster of a song Cassandra Gemini, this album is definetely a cut above De-Loused, and already they have shown themselves more mature. 01. Cygnus... Vismund Cygnus - starts off with Sarchophagi, an awesome accoustic guitar riff with some soft vocals from Cedric, then it explodes into a massive riff and solo, this continues through the song, apart from the middle where it goes quiet for a three minute solo from Omar. Brilliance. 02. The Widow - it says it is five minutes long, but actually it is more like two and a half with another two and a half of ambience, however great song that starts off quietly and accoustically then bursts into an epic chorus. Also Flea is on trumpets, which really adds to the song. However, it pales compared to some of the songs on the album. 03. L'Via L'Viaquez - starts off with a looping drum beat for about 40 seconds, then bursts into a solo provided by RHCP guitarist John Frusciante. Very funky tune. 04. Mtgjaha - this song took me a while to get into, but once I did I couldn't stop listening to it. It starts off with about four minutes of croaking frogs, then the trumpets come in (I think they are provided by Flea) and they are awesome. Then come Cedric's ultra high vocals which sound like he has just had a large kick to the groin, but they still sound great. About 4 minutes of music, then another four minutes of noise, but it ends on the funky end riff from Cygnus. One of my favourites. 05. Cassandra Gemini - now if this song was a man it would be Pavaroti. An absolute monster! It was meant to be one song, but they split it up into seven tracks to make the album an LP, as if they did not, even for the albums 77 minute length it would still be classified as an EP. Starts off with lots of random guitar and distorted vocals, then later on kinda descends into a jam session which is cool, but it would have been better live and not on an album. But it still rocks the socks to the max. Also ends on the opening of Cygnus, stating that Cygnus was better off where he started. Awesome song. Despite all the praise I gave it, however, I would not recommend this to people just getting into Volta. For FTM Rick Rubin wasn't there to keep Omar in check and I think he went a little overboard with the ambience this time round. It is an amazing album, don't get me wrong, I just found that De-Loused was a much more accessable album. But still, this is one of my favourite albums of all time. // 9

Lyrics: As always, Cedric leaves the vocals open for interperatation, leaving you to fill in the blanks. Even though there is a story, they made it so that people can get their own meaning from the lyrics. "The Seeds Sprout A Lachrymal Cloud" in Sarcophagi, I thought were just really gripping lyrics. And also, Cedric's voice has definetely matured from Deloused, you can tell from the first few words that his voice has improved, and it is much more intelligable than it was in ATD-I. Gets incredibly high in parts, but if anything this makes them more unique. Brilliant. // 10

Overall Impression: As I said, this is one of my favourite albums of all time. Great guitar, great vocals, great lyrics, it is just so different to anything out there right now, it gives prog rock a whole new name. As I said, not suitable for people just getting into the Mars Volta due to a, well, basically a lack of music compared to De-Loused. If you are going to buy you're first TMV album then pick up DLITC first, get used to that, then pick up this as you will be in for a real treat. One of the best albums of all time. // 9

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overall: 9.7
Frances The Mute Reviewed by: Kopperhead91, on june 09, 2006
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Sound: When I put this CD in the first time I was blown away. The intro with Cygnus... Vismund Cygnus is great. And the way the cd flows is the way it should be. The story is about a person searching for his birth mother, she is known as Frances The Mute. The style was something I had never heard before. This CD was recorded as all the parts separatley. So it made the people seem that the whole song was on this persons shoulders. Great stuff. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics in all the mars volta stuff is weird. This is no different. The lyrics help propel the story but the lyrics are so random that it sounds so strange. Cedric does a great job singing on this album. // 9

Overall Impression: 01. Cygnus... Vismund Cygnus - the song is great it starts out with acoustics that you can barely hear. Then Cedric starts singing about the person he's searching for. Then the song just explodes and goes into absolute craziness. It goes on with tempo and style changes that defy categorization. then ends with what sounds like people in a house shoutin about somethin and traffic can be heard in the backround. 02. The Widow - the shortest song on the ablum at 5:50 but its nothing short of awesome. The song starts out with cedric for a second then the acoustics and clean guitar in the backround. The action starts rising. Then the chorus comes in with a great guitar part and lyrics that hit hard "I'll never sleep alone". The song goes on to talk about the sad widow and the encounter the person in the story. Great when it gets to the solo. With Cedric saying "Swollen on the shore to rollin on the shore" (I think). Then it reverts to the chorus but at the end it is just random keyboard noises, then it does a segue into L'Via L'Viaquez. 03. L'via L'viaquez - it starts out with the noises from the widow. But after about 30 sec. the song (once again) explodes. into a spanish speaking verse. It talks of L'Via being the daughter of Miranda.Then after repeating the verse it slows down and the english starts flowing, telling tales of how she was blackmailed and how he wont forget who he's looking for. The sound in this part is great as it slows down and makes use of latin intstruments with the piano and everything. This part, as it repeats in the song, has a vocorder that uses more and more effects on Cedric's voice as it goes along. Then it ends as a segue to Miranda. 04. Miranda, That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore - the only reason I gave this 9 is because there isnt that much song to it. It starts off with crickets and creepy sounds. Then as it gets farther into the song it starts sounding like ghosts are comin out of your speakers. As it goes on it comes to a part where the trumpet starts blaring. Then the song takes off with that fabulous guitar part. Cedric then starts spinning the tale of the encounter with the forgotten Miranda, mother of L'Via. The chorus is great with the pure emotion put into it. Then it gets to the peak of the action as all the parts just explode in what I consider one of the best part in a song ever. All the instruments come together and just flow with one another. But after this the song returns to how it was in the beginning. After which it goes into the epic Cassandra Gemini. 05. Cassandra Gemini - if anyone has ever listened to this song all the song all the way through then you would know how awesome this song is. It starts with a great guitar part and another explosion of music. The song keeps progressing with not many vocals but many many tempo changes. Then at the end of the song it reverts to the start with the same part as in the beginning. This song is great. It has a very smooth feeling to it. It all flows even though it changes from a jazz type thing to hard rock in a matter of moments. This is a great album lost stolen, either way I'm buying it again. This is a great album. // 10

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overall: 8
Frances The Mute Reviewed by: TJM2482, on december 13, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: The sound of Mars Volta has changed in the time between their debut full length album "Deloused at the Comatorium" and now. Frances the mute is a bit of a concept album, based on a character known as, of course, Frances the Mute. I havn't really followed the story, as I'm not into TMV for their sonic wall of sounds. This album definitely draws a lot from hispanic/salsa influences, as there's parts of the album in Spanish, which Cedric dabbles in on certain songs throughout their career. The music is solid, the typical sonic buffet that you would come to expect. This is the album that TMV gets that reputation for a lot of ambient noise and other oddities. It's a lot less accessible than Deloused, and really isn't a record to be casually listened to. As Deloused was an album you could put on one of the many regular-length songs, and quicky jam out for four minutes, Frances has a more drawn out approach. It's good, but they could have definitely cut out some white noise and made songs more easy to listen to without taking up 10 minutes of your life. // 8

Lyrics: The lyrics are pretty good, if you can accept that you'll have no idea what the hell Cedric really is talking about. Some of it is straight forward, stuff like The Widow is pretty easy to grasp. Cedric's voice has always been what many critics of TMV bash, but I love it. He displays a lot of raw power and tons of range. If you're a fan of Cedric, you'll love it, if not, you'll hate it. // 8

Overall Impression: Overall I think it's a good album, but not nearly as good as Deloused per se. The songs I enjoyed most were some obvious ones like the singles "The Widow" and "L'via L'viaquez", but I also liked "Plant a Nail in the Naval Stream" and "Cygnus... Vismund Cygnus". I love the erratic overall sound of the album, and how it's different from past works. I hate that they really put a lot of drawn out just kind of pointless parts into songs, where they could have cut it out to make the song more accessible. // 8

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