Scab Dates

Scab Dates

4.0 2
by The Mars Volta
     
 

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On their last studio offering, Frances the Mute, the members of the Mars Volta sounded as if they were clawing at the ceiling, trying to escape the studio and take up residence in the stratosphere. Well, this live set could be the soundtrack to the trip taken once the roof was torn off. Recorded over the course of two years'…  See more details below

Overview

On their last studio offering, Frances the Mute, the members of the Mars Volta sounded as if they were clawing at the ceiling, trying to escape the studio and take up residence in the stratosphere. Well, this live set could be the soundtrack to the trip taken once the roof was torn off. Recorded over the course of two years' worth of live shows, Scab Dates showcases the band at their most gloriously excessive, culminating in a version of "Cicatrix" that nudges the 40-minute mark. Naturally, it would be possible to cut a little fat from that piece, but you'd be surprised just how little, what with the intrigue added by constantly shifting rhythms and the shaman-like interjections of Cedric Bixler, who looms large over the proceedings, even though he's not in front of the mic on every measure. Guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, the other key player here, balances his Fripp-esque obsession with technique -- most evident on the oscillating "And Ghosted Pouts" -- with an intuitive sense of rhythm that turns pieces like the woozy waltz "Concertina" into altered-state dance floor fodder. The latter element really elevates band past its proggy peers by proving that all the diminished ninths in the world don't mean a thing if you ain't got that swing.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Johnny Loftus
Scab Dates' accompanying photography is a frenetic blur of instruments and sweaty hair. Singers stand on amplifiers, and keyboardists stare intently at the veins popping in their hands; drummers reach over snares to tweak guitar strings, and saxophones appear out of the ether. It's an accurate portrayal of the Mars Volta's collagist sound, their subtitled and bullet-pointed avant metal that increasingly seems like the soundtrack to a film only Omar Rodriguez-Lopez can see. Still, even at their most insular (some would say self-indulgent), the Mars Volta seethe with intensity. Scab Dates proves this. Most of the more wandering elements of De-Loused and Frances the Mute disappear for this live document, replaced by hails of screaming organ, increased thump to the rhythm section, and Cedric Bixler-Zavala showing off the insane volatility in his voice. They still get jammy in places, but the extended guitar solos and softer textures lead to inevitable explosions. As nothing's ever been traditional with the Mars Volta, it's no surprise that their live albums aren't, either. The songs flow seamlessly and take subtitled digressions just like the studio records. In the liners, Rodriguez-Lopez describes how field recordings he made while on tour found their way into the mix, and there are no "How ya doin', Phoenix?!" or "Let me see you jump, San Diego!" from Bixler-Zavala to discern where the songs were recorded. All you get are dates -- "recorded between May 2004 and May 2005" -- and the occasional bit of crowd chatter to tell you this is live. (Well, the sound quality is a little off, too -- sometimes the drums sound terribly flat.) This means that Scab Dates is yet another intriguing window into the Mars Volta's world, instead of just a live album holdover. Highlights include "Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt" and the Comatorium highlight "Cicatriz," which becomes Scab Dates' epic closing suite.

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Product Details

Release Date:
06/04/2008
Label:
Universal Japan
UPC:
4988005515483
catalogNumber:
90959

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Mars Volta   Primary Artist
Greg Nelson   Group Member
Paul Drake   Group Member
Keith Mitchell   Group Member
Amery AWOL Smith   Group Member
Isaiah Owens   Keyboards,Group Member
Jon Theodore   Group Member
Steve "Steev" Taylor   Group Member
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez   Group Member
Cedric Bixler-Zavala   Group Member
Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez   Group Member
Jonathan Debaun   Group Member
Pablo Hinojos Gonzalez   Group Member
Jesse Isaacs   Group Member
Lalo Medina   Group Member
Jerry Riccardi   Group Member
Shaun Sebastian   Group Member
Joe Paul Slaby   Group Member
Henry Trejo   Group Member
Adrian Terrazas-Gonzales   Group Member
Juan Alderette   Group Member

Technical Credits

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez   Composer,Director,Producer,Art Direction
Cedric Bixler-Zavala   Composer,Art Direction
Jonathan Debaun   Engineer

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