It's not hard in these short-attention span, disposable-pop times to be freaks, but the two guys with Afros from El Paso's At the Drive-In are the lords of freakdom. They smoke copious amounts of pot, watch foreign films, read books with words you can't pronounce and write indecipherably titled (e.g., "Cicatriz ESP") prog-rock tracks that hover in the six-minute range. Musically, the Mars Volta conjures up the Jesus Lizard playing Yes songs with Santana. Its debut LP is a brilliant and difficult concept record, as deep and heady as Pink Floyd, but as visceral and flat-out rocking as Zeppelin. There are mysteries woven into the layers of spider webs of guitar arpeggios and haunted houses of vocals. All of the tracks segue one into the other with odd instrumental passages or sound effects, so that the record flows together. The only thing that's missing is the gatefold vinyl... More >>>
The Mars Volta projectile-vomits up a maddening
platter that rewards diligent listeners.