SPUN: The Mars Volta

By Jordan Fritz

The Mars Volta seems to have received a bad rap from all the cool kids, of late. None of them can tell you why but that won’t stop the hate.

The Bedlam in Goliath gets right to the point and doesn’t stray far from it: a couple intertwining guitar riffs, singer Cedric’s angelic falscetto and bombastic drumming explode to set the pace for most of the album. The triumphant fusion of butt-rock and pure musical ambition may lead you to believe these chaps just spontaneously grew moustaches. Lyrics were never Cedric’s strong point–though his vocabulary may have you thinking otherwise–the songs on this disc actually contain a relatively coherent tale of a Ouija board haunted by a spirit named Goliath and the misfortunes that follow his communique.

The album is a breath of fresh air when compared to earlier Mars Volta releases, which were progressing more and more towards being musically indecipherable. Not to say the album lacks moments where you have to stop the music and spend 20 minutes figuring out what the fuck just happened. The song “Goliath,” in fact, has three Frank Zappa LPs worth of freakout. Keep in mind that this is the fourth album’s worth of music composer/producer Omar A. Rodriguez-Lopez has released this year. So far.