Eight Is Great

The Mars Volta’s fifth album is a suitably vibrant and fabulous affair full of fractious and fascinating tunes. It’s a brave band who open their album with a tune as introspective and searching as, ‘Since We’ve Been Wrong’. This would usually be the mid-album change of pace that kicks in after a few punchy tracks, but it instantly grabs the listener’s attention with its slow building introduction that has you turning up your stereo in confusion, delicate guitarwork that leads to howling solos and pensive vocals.

‘Teflon’ is an electrifying tune that entices with forceful vocals and swirling guitarwork that give a frantic psychedelic feel. ‘Halo of Nembutals’ is a powerful number with a real narrative element as two voices snarl fiercely at each other over a background of quivering guitars and chaotic beats.

There’s a pleasant mix of more shoegaze style tunes like, ‘With Twilight As My Guide’ and space-age ‘Copernicus’ alongside more thrashing numbers like, ‘Cotopaxi’ which announces itself with a rumbling rush of brash guitars. Closer ‘Luciforms’ is as strikingly different as the opener with a creepy and theatrical vocal style and quaking cymbals building to a fierce crescendo of funky, angular guitars and mixed up rhythms with percussion that simply bursts out of your stereo and pounds your ears.

It’s The Mars Volta’s dramatic prog rock stylings that make them the charismatic group what they are and ‘Octahedron’ won’t let the fans down with a good variety of passionate and forceful tunes featuring driven melodies and an awesome mix of aggressive instruments and delicate, moody slow numbers. The band have commented that this album is mellower than previous offering, which is true and it’s also probably more accessible but without trading any of their wackiness or creativity in the process. This is bombastic rock at its most appealing and listenable with tunes not outstaying their welcome as prog rock numbers have a tendency to do.