Tremulant review by The Mars Volta

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  • Released: Apr 2, 2002
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.2 (18 votes)
The Mars Volta: Tremulant

Sound — 10
This is the first offering from the Mars Volta when Eva played bass and Jeremy was still alive. It's a very embracing sound when first listened to and the kind of record that you have to listen to many times to understand the different levels it conveys it's messages on. The guitar style is very unique in contemporary music, especially for a guitarist with punk-roots; chords are used sparingly in most of the songs apart from Cut That City which has a very catchy verse riff. Eva produced some very good basslines, in my opinion, perfectly suited for the style. The crowning moment has to be the bridge in Concertina and the aftermath which has some of the most beautiful bass work I've heard so far, definately someone who will aspire to great things in the future. Drum wise Cedric and Omar chose well recruiting Jon Theodore from Golden who mixes a very catchy but smooth style that flows very well with songs. Ikey from De Facto creates some haunting effects on his numerous keyed devices and wrote a killer riff for Cut That City. Jeremy Ward provided some fantastic effects on the record and shows a developing sound.

Lyrics — 8
I've heard someone describe Cedric's lyrics as euphonic, but I'm still not sure exactly what this means. What I do know is that he can still come up with some of the most vexing but creative lyrics I've heard even after the odd 7 years of it with At the Drive-In. He uses words and subjects I've never heard of and in Cut That City I'm pretty certain that there are some fictitous words thrown in for good measure. These lyrics are very agreeable with the stylistic aims of the music and I imagine this is what euphonic means, the only down-side is I personally feel that the lyrics aren't as good on this EP as they were in At the Drive-In. This is a biased opinion and you should listen to the lyrics yourself, you'll probably be scared and confused at first but you'll learn to admire them and think "I wish I could write lyrics like that".

Overall Impression — 10
This album isnt' really comparable to any other artists but I feel that it's unfair to compare it to the Mars Volta's LP De-Loused; mainly because 2/6ths of the band have changed, the bass and the sound engineer. I feel that the bass on the EP is better than Flea's lines for the album which are sometimes downright drab but should be looking up with Jaun Alderete's skills who was fantastic at Leeds festival. In my opinion the best song off the album is Eunuch Provocateur because the opening riff has so much emotion in it, it's like a nostalgia trip in 4 notes; the rest of the song is impressive and is capped off with a poem spoken backwards (play it backwards to find out what :)). Concertina has the best bassline but Cut That City is the catchiest and probably most appealing song. I love this CD because it's so innovative and such a satisfying result from Cedric and Omar after At the Drive-In, and I would definately buy it again if it was stolen. It's worth buying if you can get your hands on it and not that expensive probably because there's only 3 tracks but it's well worth it. If anyone thinks this is stoner rock I'd reconsider, I think that Cedric and Omar are really straight edge, I've just downloaded an interview where they're really deadpan about taking drugs in their rider, it's hilarious and further shows their immense talent.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Haha...Cedric and Omar were stoners. They became sober before making Frances the Mute after the second death in their musical familily caused by drugs. They were flying high on Tremulant/De-loused. I guess you're a bassist, cause you really focused on that. And I think calling Flea 'drab' is sacrileage, assuming you're a bassist. And the backwards 'poem' is a couple lines then 'Itsby Bitsy Spider.'
    I actually loved this album, I downloaded it with the A Missing Chromasome EP. Concertina has an awesome guitar line, I thought Cut That City was really catchy and I thought Eunuch Provocateur was just awesomeness, however I still find it hard to keep up with the verse because the drum beat is kinda irregular, not time signature wise but its like the 4th beat is on the second beat if you get me. But overall amazing EP.
    silentsteeples wrote: Haha...Cedric and Omar were stoners. They became sober before making Frances the Mute after the second death in their musical familily caused by drugs. They were flying high on Tremulant/De-loused.
    cedric was high as shit when i saw them live