Review: “Noctourniquet” by The Mars Volta



When I muse on what The Mars Volta offer the world I start to think that they should honestly be my favourite band. Don’t get me wrong I am a massive fan and have been since day one. I still remember freaking out on their debut album “De-Loused In The Comatorium” when it was released in 2003 and I would show everyone I knew but not a lot of people seemed to get just what a special band they were. I remember reading on the internet, post ATDI break-up, just how bold and intense Omar and Cedric planned to make their new project. This excited me quite a bit because I was already turned on by how progressive and forward thinking ATDI was.

Fast forward to 2012 and after following the band religiously since their inception I have watched the band get more progressive, weirder and take there place in the rock landscape as one of the most interesting and vital bands of the 21st Century. Add into this the amazing solo work from Omar and you have a collective that is committed to the progression of the rock n roll language. Thank fuck I always think to myself.

So nine years after their debut album, what does The Mars Volta have to say in 2012? Well quite a lot actually and it was with great pleasure that I heard them apply the year zero theory to their sound and in an attempt to evolve they have taken the sound back to basics. The real joy of “Noctourniquet” is of how it reminds me of their debut album, not in sound but in spirit.

“Noctourniquet” is not full of horns or jazzy passages and is at its core a very simple collection of rock music. The album is heavy on electronics which help give some new dynamics to the Mars Volta sound. Overall the lack of horns gives the sound a new urgency. “Noctourniquet” is a disciple of the less is more theory and by adopting this discipline the band has given themselves more room to breathe and have steered the sound into the new decade. The sonic weight loss will only help the band build on their language moving into the next ten years of their career.

This is also the first time in a while that I’ve felt emotionally attached to a Mars Volta record. The melodic structure and lyrics of this movement of music almost feel like love songs to my ears. I haven’t been this moved, emotionally, by a Mars Volta record since “Frances The Mute” and it is nice to see emotion favoured over science.

I had low expectations for this album, which is how I’ve attacked each Mars Volta album since “Amputecture” and although we’ve had some great music offered to us since that point, “Noctourniquet” is the first time I’ve had my expectations met and exceeded. It is an incredibly strong album and great way to start the new decade for rock n roll’s most progressive band.

The Mars Volta is future punk.

10 Cassette tapes out of 10


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