Sound — 8
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.
Lyrics — 8
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.
Overall Impression — 8
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.