Frances the Mute

( 56 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
It's evident that no one ever gave Mars Volta leading lights Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Martinez-Lopez that lecture about keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground -- and as this stunning sophomore disc bears out, that's a very fortunate thing. The band don't so much build on the avant-rock foundation they laid on De-Loused in the Comatorium as rappel from it to festoon a new structure with even more improbably captivating sounds. At times, that translates into relatively straightforward songcraft, as on "The Widow," where Bixler-Zavala effectively channels the spirit of Robert Plant, circa 1972. But even more often, Martinez-Lopez pushes things into more ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
It's evident that no one ever gave Mars Volta leading lights Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Martinez-Lopez that lecture about keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground -- and as this stunning sophomore disc bears out, that's a very fortunate thing. The band don't so much build on the avant-rock foundation they laid on De-Loused in the Comatorium as rappel from it to festoon a new structure with even more improbably captivating sounds. At times, that translates into relatively straightforward songcraft, as on "The Widow," where Bixler-Zavala effectively channels the spirit of Robert Plant, circa 1972. But even more often, Martinez-Lopez pushes things into more futuristic, more cerebrally rugged territory, whirring out a Can-like drone on the hypnotic "Miranda, That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore" and forging a Cuban-Krautrock alliance on "L'Via L'Viaquez." As with De-Loused, there's a concept of sorts snaking through the disc, but since Bixler-Zavala's lyrics are delivered partially in Spanish and partly in Burroughsian cutup style, it's somewhat difficult to decipher. That point becomes moot, however, since it's so easy to get lost in the twists and turns of something like the 31-minute ! closing suite, "Cassandra Gemini," which suggests a wee-hours jam session between Miles Davis and King Crimson. Next stop, outer space.
All Music Guide - Johnny Loftus
The Mars Volta's 2003 debut was a dense, experimental run-on sentence of science fiction and musical exploration. But though it ultimately rewarded patience with stretches of unbuckled rock & roll genius, De-Loused in the Comatorium was also a maze-like and obtuse migraine dealer that made people frustrated and crazy. For 2005's Frances the Mute, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala worked principally with their touring band, but "joining the band for selected moments" are strings, horns, electronic programming, pals Flea and John Frusciante, and the coqui frogs of Puerto Rico. There are no song breaks, making the track listing more of an outline. But Mute's printed lyrics are a helpful guide, a map of Mars that's meant to both direct and fascinate. "She was a mink handjob in sarcophagus heels"; "Don't be afraid when all the worms come crawlin out of your head"; "they were scaling through an ice pick of abscess reckoning and when Miranda sang everyone turned away...." -- perhaps the only match for the cerebral weirdness and eventual beauty of Mars Volta's lyrics is their music itself. The roar of Rodriguez-Lopez and Bixler-Zavala's post-hardcore past is fully locked away, replaced by an equally powerful flair for expressive percussion, intricate vocal harmonies, and extended solos for electric guitar as on the initial part of "Cygnus...Vismund Cygnus". Sure, there are moments on Mute that reach the grandiose heights of heavy music -- "L'Via l'Viaquez"'s ear-splitting changes will blow back your hair. But the same song is sung half in Spanish, half in English, and its flashes of heaviness fall between stretches of Afro-Cuban rhythm. Other portions of Frances the Mute are murky and distant, like field recordings from the ocean floor, while still others shift drastically between brittle acoustics and a stuttering, guitar-led volatility that threatens to crack open the earth. Its constant shifts mean the record is claustrophobic and even dizzying; it demands perseverance. But it's great when a blast of a trumpet cuts through a gloomy moment, and Bixler-Zavala's vocals are a thread to reality. For example, while his lyrics for "Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore" and "Widow" are mysterious poems, he sings them with a fervor that's immediately identifiable. That passion is evident throughout Frances the Mute; it's the organic fever that was buried on Comatorium.
Rolling Stone - David Fricke
The beastly spawn of Radiohead's OK Computer and Rush's 2112.

The beastly spawn of Radiohead's OK Computer and Rush's 2112.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/1/2005
  • Label: Umvd Labels
  • UPC: 075021039773
  • Catalog Number: 000412902
  • Sales rank: 37,599

Album Credits

Performance Credits
The Mars Volta Primary Artist
Larry Harlow Piano, Clavinet
David Campbell Conductor
Lenny Castro Percussion
Larry Corbett Cello
Joel Derouin Violin
Flea Trumpet, Soloist
John Frusciante Guitar, Soloist
Peter Kent Violin
Nick Lane Trombone
Josefina Vergara Violin
Suzie Katayama Cello
William Frank "Bill" Reichenbach Jr. Bass Trombone
Wayne Bergeron Trumpet
Fernando Moreno Violin
Salvador Hernandez Trumpet
Isaiah Owens Group Member
Roberto Cani Violin
Jon Theodore Group Member
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group Member
Roger Joseph Manning Jr. Piano
Ernesto Molina Violin
Cedric Bixler-Zavala Group Member
Diego Casillas Violin
Coqui Of Puerto Rico Track Performer
Juan Alderete de la Peña Group Member
Randy Jones Tuba
Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez Group Member
Adrian Terrazas Flute, Tenor Saxophone
Mario de León Violin
Technical Credits
David Campbell Composer, Horn Arrangements, String Arrangements
David Schiffman Engineer
Howie Weinberg Mastering
Andrew Scheps Engineer
Peter Curzon Cover Art
Darrell Lance Abbott Cover Art
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Composer, Producer, Engineer, Audio Production, Music Direction
Jon DeBaun Engineer
Bill Thorgerson Cover Art
Cedric Bixler-Zavala Composer
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 56 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(46)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 56 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 17, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    best band today

    best band today

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    A must have, but not their best.

    This was my first Volta album. It takes a considerable amount of patience to get through this album, as they drift into several minutes of bizarre sounds (bizarre in a good way!) after almost every song. At some points I feel as though they almost lost control in this album, and some of the guitar playing comes across as unnatural to what Omar, their lead guitarist, usually plays. De-loused in the Comatorium and Bedlam in Goliath outdo this album.

    Each album they release is a concept album and all of the songs link together, so if you're an impatient listener who doesn't enjoy listening to whole albums at once (this one is 77 minutes), then this album isn't for you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Blech

    This music hurts my ears, and it scared my dog. The last track was kinda okay though.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    FANTASTIC...but

    in some Parts so redundant. and other Parts more Powerful than even Led Zeppelin. I would not want to be a music critic and have to review this, or The Mars Volta and try to sell this to a label. It Just NEEDS to be Listened to, in its entirety to be. Any band whose Lyrics include "He's got Festing Black Lungs, made of clove splintered Shards" you KNOW is gonna be good. Buy this CD, but don't expect to listen to one song.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    So, you liked the first album, eh? Well...

    Since nobody reviewed the Japanese import version with the DVD, I'll do that here since B&N doesn't offer it. First off let me just say the bonus DVD is worth it if you live in an area where the Mars Volta does not come around to. You get a short glimpse into their live show, and it will make you cry that you aren't able to see them because you live in Alaska, or some other weirdo state. Also, it has the title track ('Frances the Mute') on the DVD as well. You can't beat that, folks. The album is perfect that's really all I can say. I wish they would've kept it at 5 tracks, but you can't have everything. If you like early material by Yes, Mahavishnu Orchestra or even Santana, you will probably love this. Highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    i wish i could give it four and a half

    please give this album a chance. Frances THe Mute spans a broad musical landscape with endless horizons. the songs won't let go of you, they'll sink into the tissues of your brain, and you'll start humming them without even realizing it. the singing is incredible. as is the guitar. as is the bass. as are the drums

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    frances the mute

    this is definatly a tough piece of music to review. It has a guideline, so don't be confused by the songs on the case. This is a brilliant work of music. The cunning and fast guitar is brilliant, and random.... This 77 minute long song is genius. Its a musical masterpiece, each second is gripping and compelling

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    a complex musical journey

    perhaps the most inventive band of the times, the mars volta has progressed significantly since the days of at the drive in. their music is deeply complex, taking the listener on a journey while telling a story and breaking ground all at the same time. the music transcends language as some of the best suites on the album are in spanish. frances is a unique blend of (what some would call) prog rock, electronica, and salsa. the album is unlike anything else out there.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Awesome CD!

    The Mars Volta is like no other band out there. Their new album Frances The Mute is amazing. Their music puts you in a trance and lets you forget everything around you. When I first listened to it, it blew me away. Trust me when you listen to this cd you'll fall in love with it right away and you wont be able to stop listening or dancing to it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    PURE MUSICAL FUSION

    THE MARS VOLTA IS AN AMAZING BAND THAT WILL TAKE YOU THROUGH AN ADVENTURE..EACH SONG INTRODUCED A NEW SHED OF LIGHT ON MUSIC. TALENT. THATS WHAT THE MARS VOLTA HAS...TALENT. THIS ALBUM IS AMAZING...BUY IT. WORTH EVERY PENNY.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    tmv kicks ass

    I could try and describe this and say that it's latin-experimental post-progressive jazz-rock, but that doesn't even begin to describe TMV's sounds. It's nothing but The Mars Volta, a whole new genre which no other band will ever fit in. Buy this album.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Unmute frances!

    I loved this album. I love The Mars Volta. I think words would kill this...dare I say, masterpiece. I will only say that I highly reccomend this to anyone with an open mind, and an ear for great, new, different sounds.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    not a short trip

    I'm curious if the diary the late Jeremy Ward found will be released as well. More disjointed than Ummagumma, but larger than Dark side of the Moon. More eccentric than Coda, but more listenable than Zoso. More schizophrenic than Quadrophenia, but more all-encompassing than Who's Next. This album is a rock-opera, latin jazz, stoner rock, spoken word, epic masterpiece. This won't be a short trip across town. It swallows you whole and leaves you in a furious huddle on the floor.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Absolutely Amazing.

    Frances the Mute is definately a great album to follow up The Mars Volta's De-Loused In The Commatorium. I usually think albums get worse as artists release new ones, but Frances the Mute changed my mind. The music and vocals are mind-blowing. I recommend this to all Mars Volta fans, and to anyone who wants to find something new and exciting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    TMV = Amazing

    This 2nd full length album by The Mars Volta, is amazing. It fully lives up to the expectations after Deloused was released.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Absolutely AMAZING.

    At first when I got the CD, I was a little taken back and just .. in a little confusion. But once I relistened to the cd, amongst the long tracks of pure genius, I really took it all in. The cd is just absolutely great. The lyrics portray the life of Vismund Cygnus, a man who is in search of his mother Frances. The lyrics, music and everything overall are just breath-taking. I could blast this CD for hours, and not get sick of it. AMAZING.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A permanent fix in my cd player....forever

    I have probably listened to this whole album (including "Frances the Mute, which is not on the album, but the single) about 15 to 17 times all the way through. It is not an obsession, I am just simply marvling over the beautifull expression and feelings and soul they put into this. With every listen, you catch more of the story... and the more you hear it, the more you start to get it, and most importantly, appreciate it. A band like this and as talented as The MArs Volta are rare to come by. Anyone who says it's mindless noise is just simply afraid to open their ears. This album is definately more effective when heard a few times all the way through. And if you can get a copy of "Frances the Mute", it should be listened to right before you start the album... It sets the mood and the scene... for a musical journey unlike none other in thirty years or more... excluding radiohead. This is also one of the most suspensful albums ever recorded.. Each song builds you up, and the final result is far from disappointing.. You can't help but to start it over again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Frances The Mute

    This cd is a defiantly one you should buy. It has its weak points and its strong points. Weak points are a lot of ambience, strong points are that when there actually is music, it is awesome. FTM doesn't quite top their 1st full length album, De-loused in the Comatorium, but is overall a groundbreaking album. buy it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Don't listen to this on mute, turn it up instead

    If you like to try new stuff, then you should try this cd, because it is delicious. The album begins with this sweet acoustic riff, which it also closes with. But there is a lot of rock in between. Cygnus Vismund Cygnus has 4 minutes of really rocking stuff, and then they jam in an odd time signature (9/16, 6/8, 2/4) for 8 or so minutes. After that comes the first single, The Widow. This song also rocks. John from the Red Hot Chili Peppers plays some hot licks one track 3, the spicy latino L'Via L'Viaquez. After that, Flea (also of RHCP) plays some trumpet on track 4. Then the massive Cassandra Gemini, spread out over eight tracks, closes the album. It's too good to be true.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Impossible to Categorize or Define

    The Mars Volta had quite a task ahead of them in following up "Deloused in the Comatorium", a combination of virtually every musical and artistic influence imaginable. A difficult album to fully enter at first, Frances the Mute has really grown on me. I could say more, but you really need to experience it first-hand. Highly recommended to those who do not fear the abstract.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 56 Customer Reviews