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The Mars Volta
FRANCES THE MUTE
(Universal)

Although the Mars Voltaís second full-length begins with a simple acoustic-guitar strum, the album finds them veering from psychedelic noise freak-outs to Zeppelinesque licks to rock-en-español refrains. And through it all, they never sound like anyone but themselves. Frances the Mute spreads five songs over 12 different tracks in a way that makes it difficult to tell when one song ends and the next begins, with singer Cedric Bixler chanting, screaming, singing, and breathing in sexy hyperbole over bombing blasts of guitar, funk grooves, and percussive jams. Itís all a bit overwhelming, and youíll need more than one listen to get everything out of the musical texture (thereís a horn section buried in there somewhere) and the lyrics (the disc tells the story of an adopted woman searching for her parents). Other bands look to the past for inspiration; here the Mars Volta charge forward, inventing the future of rock as they go.

(The Mars Volta headline Lupoís at the Strand in Providence this Saturday, May 7, and then the Palladium in Worcester on Monday and Avalon in Boston on Tuesday; call 617-228-6000.)

BY JEFF MILLER


Issue Date: May 6 - 12, 2005
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