Frances The Mute review by The Mars Volta

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  • Released: Mar 1, 2005
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.5 (151 votes)
The Mars Volta: Frances The Mute

Sound — 8
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.

Lyrics — 8
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.

Overall Impression — 8
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.

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