After this, Frances is going to be deaf.
Frances the Mute, the second full length album from Mars Volta, expands upon their sound established with the Tremulant EP and De-Loused with an all-out Latin salsa song, moreso than just some influences of Latin music in De-Loused, and in many more ways expands their sound and their sheer songwriting ability. Mars Volta makes another incredibly long CD, but one noticable thing worth pointing out is that a good ten minutes or so of the CD are more or less intermission between songs. There's a lot of time which could have been used for things better than whirring sounds laden with effects winding down for minutes on end. However, these things do provide interesting lead-ins to the songs, as well as come a bit closer to reproducing the live experience of Mars Volta in a studio recording. Most any fan of Mars Volta will tell you right off the bat, seeing them live is by far the best way to fully appreciate their music. With jam sessions, extended songwriting, everything that makes you feel inclined to want to see a band live, knowing that their performance onstage is truly enhancement to what you have on CD.. Not just simply reproducing what's on the CD to the best of their ability. This CD defintely played out well in the live setting, making for some amazing moments. Possibly the most ironic factor of this CD is that the title track, "Frances the Mute", isn't even on the CD. However, a quick trip to a specific large electronics store with a large yellow tag can solve that, as they have free handouts sitting in the Mars Volta section, with the actual Frances the Mute track, and a live acoustic version of The Widow. Hearing the actual Frances the Mute track which is otherwise more hard to come by and requires you to pick up an import disc version of it (Or possibly a single. I recall it being on something else, but I don't remember specifically what.) makes much more sense of the rest of the album, and provides a perfect introduction to the CD. Overall, Frances the Mute is much more difficult to get into and understand and enjoy than De-Loused, but it's excellent. De-Loused and Frances both are amazing CDs by an amazing band. If you enjoy experimental music that varies from the norm, give it a try.Read full review