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The Widow by The Mars Volta

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Reviewed on 27th March 2005.


The Widow

By The Mars Volta

Before the play button is pressed, the new The Mars Volta single is already a head fuck. It is two tracks long, yet it last nearly twenty minutes. The a-side (The Widow) is track two. Track one is the b-side, it has the same name as their new album, 'Frances The Mute', and is in four parts.

Things get no better when the play button is pressed. It takes over four minutes of listening to a sound like a can rolling down a street before anything happens. When it happens it is ace. Cedric's yelped vocals leap around like a kangaroo on a bouncy castle having its balls removed. The guitars roar around. Then it goes flamenco and a bit weird, it loses the memento, and dies a gradual death.

In contrast, 'The Widow' sounds bit tame. Cedric's vocals are always going to catch your attention, but Omar A Rodriguez-Lopez seems to be having a wank with his guitar. It's a non-stop barrage of Latin-tinged fret-jumpery, which unfortunately sounds more like the work of Santana that the saviours of rock, or whatever nonsense is being banded around about this duo. On an album, a band can afford to stick in some incidental music, some weird noises, atmospherics and generally embrace their love of prog. A single should be immediate. It should make you take notice. It should be more like 'One Armed Scissor' than 'The Widow'. I miss At The Drive-In.



All replies to this article. Log in to post a reply.

On 27th March 2005 at 20:13 Anonymous 4015 wrote...

I feel the urge to say: 'what the hell?' about the One Armed Scissor comparison. Review a song for what it is, not what it isn't.


On 27th March 2005 at 22:45 Anonymous 2924 wrote...

Hmm. One is forced to wonder whether you are only capable of appreciating music on a superficial level. You either get The Mars Volta, or you don't. You obviously don't. But at least state that you cannot comprehend their direction instead of resorting to slagging it off.


On 28th March 2005 at 09:42 Anonymous 2871 wrote...

I didn't compare it to 'One Armed Scissor' I just said that a single should sound more like that than a sub-Santana latino funk workout.

Also, it's not that I don't 'get' Mars Volta. I can (kinda) get on with the album, I just don't understand why this is a single. Singles should be immediate, not wanky.


On 28th March 2005 at 12:11 Anonymous 4015 wrote...

Presumably the label insisted on a single - which seems to have paid off, with it being in the top 20 in the pop charts, but that's incidental. So, based on this assumption, it really is the obvious choice. Listen to Frances... there really isn't anything more single-material than The Widow.

I'll admit, when I first heard the song, I thought it was a curious choice for a first single. But now, it's pretty easy to see why. The only other thing to do would have been to cut the middle out of Cygnus Vismund and use that, which would have been a bit silly.


On 28th March 2005 at 12:13 Anonymous 4015 wrote...

Incidentally, I too am baffled by the decision to put the B-side first. That just seems like pretension for the sake of it, really.


On 28th March 2005 at 12:14 Anonymous 2871 wrote...

I know it's not really their choice, and that there isn't much choice on the album. It's just as a taster for the album, there's no way this single would make me buhy Frances.... Good job I got it for free...

It does work on the album, it's just really below par as an isolated track.



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