MARS VOLTA – Amputechture (Toff)

Mars Volta have polarised opinion with their modern take on progressive rock music. You either love them or just don’t get what they are trying to do. I am in the former catergory, since hearing the unique and phenomenal ‘De-loused In The Comatorium’, and so for me this album is just a continuation of their vision of the future of music. For the uninitiated or just plain curious, the opening track of this album ‘Vicarious Atonement’ just might sway them, as it one of the most ‘normal’ pieces of music that the band have produced. Mostly instrumental, with dual guitars and a spacey feel to it, it preceeds over an hour of intelligent, thought-provoking and downright convoluted music. The rest of the album is made up of another seven individual songs, with no connecting theme as in their last two albums, and they sing in English (and a bit of Spanish) rather than the Latin of the last album or the language of their own invention on the debut. Consequently all of these songs can be taken as a separate whole, and the band can pull them in any direction that they want to realise their vision of the song. Despite being based in such supposedly difficult musical structures as prog, jazz, and folk, there are some surprisingly melodic passages on here, but then there are also pieces which would test the patience of a fan of musique concréte. However, blend them all together and the whole vastly outweighs the sum of its parts. All of the elements which made ‘De-Loused…’ and ‘Frances The Mute’ so good are present and correct, and I really need to say no more than if you liked their previous work then you love this, and if you didn’t get it then, then you won’t get it now.