The Mars Volta

On Tuesday The Mars Volta released a new cd, The Bedlam in Goliath. Interestingly, you can also buy the album on a 1 gig USB drive that carries the songs and a video and magically gives you additional goodies such as videos, more songs, and b-sides every month for a year. Cool. The band says while writing the new tunes it was channeling dark spirits that cursed them via their purchase of an old Ouija board. Listen to two songs from the album here; download their cover of the Black Flag song I’ve Had It here.

I want to like them so badly, still hoping for a reincarnation of At the Drive-In, who had brilliant music and awesome concerts (watch them go ape-sh*t on Later with Jools Holland). Like Elliott Smith, they’re one of the few acts I rue missing. Sigh. At the Drive-In broke up in 2001, after which the band members split into The Mars Volta and the good-but-not-great Sparta. (Sparta’s 2002 Wiretap Scars disc was very good, but now they’re starting to sound more Coldplay-ish. It does not suit them.)

I saw The Mars Volta open for A Perfect Circle in 2004, and I was ready to give them all the adoration I had stored up for At the Drive-In. Alas, their uber-technical wall-of-sound explorations just didn’t rev me up like I’d hoped. I couldn’t get into them then, and this disc didn’t change my mind.

One caveat: I do enjoy some of their songs with more apparent Mexican influences, like L’Via L’Viaquez. But if I’m going to listen to angry Mexican rock, then I’m probably going to go straight to the more aggressive bits of older Cafe Tacuba or Plastilina Mosh, or even the hip hop of Control Machete.

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