Friday, July 3rd, 2009

The Mars Volta – Cotopaxi

Hair – it’s everywhere!…


Alfred Soto: The Led Zeppelin-meets-Scissor Sisters sound we’ve all been waiting for.

Alex Wisgard: Having not voluntarily listened to The Mars Volta since an ill-advised adolescent attempt to make it all the way through Frances the Mute, the prospect of the band endeavouring to write what could be construed as ‘pop songs’ seems somewhat intriguing. Aside from the processed-sounding vocals (who knew Cedric Bixler-Zavala would need autotune?), this is the closest they’ve come to recapturing the ferocity of At the Drive-In since TMV’s still-quite-good debut, with a helluva chorus to boot. Still, for all its keray-zee time signatures and impenetrable title, “Cotopaxi” sounds far more like Wolfmother et al – that is to say, a ham-fisted attempt at 21st Century Led Zep-ism – than the kind of Groundbreaking Rock Music the band are clearly convinced that they’re making.

Chuck Eddy: Staccato lurches, paradiddling clatter, high shrieks, “we’ll be lucky if we eat tonight.” Maybe they’re protesting world hunger, maybe their van driver missed a turn and they can’t find a KFC. Either way, isn’t it about time they sold out to pop hooks, like Rush and Yes in the ’80s? (PS: By comparison, the current Nickelback single, “Burn It To The Ground”, deserves an 8.)

Anthony Easton: Loud, exciting, kind of sexy, sort of angry but in a petulant way, lyrics that have this sort of obligatory darkness and paranoia because this is serious business, not quite pretentious, but almost ambitious, or at least that place where ambitious and fun for fun’s sake can interact, except they are looking over each other in the middle of the dance floor, not quite getting to the locking eyes portion that is a precursor to something more interesting, the last little bit sort of wants to go to the stratosphere, but cannot get up over a few feet, disappointing for its absences rather then presences.

Martin Skidmore: It nearly works at times, when they are rocking out, but their instincts are too prog to keep that up without stopping and doing fancy nonsense: I find myself wanting to use the football term ‘fannydangle’, epitomised by early Cristiano Ronaldo; ten exciting stepovers getting you all worked up, then he gave the ball away.

Anthony Miccio: I wish it had more pop logic, but this busy, brash riffola is a lot more entertaining than I’d normally expect from these guys – if Adam Lambert took over Velvet Revolver, I wish they would kick this hard.

Alex Ostroff: Vague lyrics about Sanskrit, scarabs, light years and the devil are impressionistic without conveying much meaning. Guitars wail and the singer intones menace and desperation. No matter how hard it rocks, there’s little to cling to here.

Additional Scores

Martin Kavka: [6]
Ian Mathers: [2]
Michaelangelo Matos: [4]

5 Responses to “The Mars Volta – Cotopaxi”

  1. Don’t mean to imply that the current Nickelback single sells out to ’80s Rush/Yes-style pop hooks itself, btw — the rhythm’s from Black Sabbath’s “Children Of The Grave,” and it’s probably their hardest rockest single ever. Deliriously dorky party lyrics, too (“no class, no taste, no shirt, and shitfaced…get your hands off this glass, last call my ass.”) Rocks a lot harder than this Mars Volta tune, too — which, to my ears, doesn’t really rock all that hard. Just loud, and cluttered. Don’t hear much Zep in it either — certainly not as much as in that Dead Weather song from last week.

  2. Alright but debating whether Nickelback or Mars Volta rock harder is like deciding which color poop you want in your sandwich

  3. hahaha damn it, I hoped my one-worder would make it in (“Complexi.”), but no.

  4. This is all over the place. I might like one of these songs, but I lack the patience to unweave it from the other four. [4]

  5. The Mars Volta are great!! It just takes most people a while to get into them. And comparing them to Nickelback is stupid.