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Tuesday, May 28
The Indiana Daily Student

Life on Mars

The Mars Volta has always been a no-holds-barred band and has never taken the "less is more" approach. Only the band itself determines where its music goes, and it has made this clear through the music it writes. Its new album The Bedlam in Goliath is no exception to this ideological approach to music.\nLike its previous albums, The Mars Volta has made a concept album, inspired this time by a Ouija board the band's guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez bought in Jerusalem. \nThrough this board came many of the album's track titles, such as "Goliath," "Soothsayer" and "Tourniquet Man" -- all entities it found residing in the board. Shortly after the Goliath spirit cursed them, equipment disappeared while on tour, lead singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala broke his foot, drummers were replaced, Rodriguez-Lopez's studio flooded and the album's engineer lost his mind and dropped off the project.\nDespite the many setbacks, it has produced its most ambitious work to date.\nThe album needs no introduction, and The Mars Volta comes through the gates with all guns blazing on "Aberinkula." The new drummer Thomas Pridgen has plenty of room to show off his amazing chops on this track, and he gives an impressive display of his talent. \n"Ilyena" pays homage to the Volta's funk and Latin-music influences. The syncopated guitar rhythms, percussion and drums all line up perfectly in the breakdown of the song in a way George Clinton might even appreciate.\n"Tourniquet Man" offers listeners a chance to take a breath while listening to the album. It's soft, melodic and calming. Zavala's vocals are quite pleasing to the ear until effects are added that make them harsh.\n"Cavalettas" draws some of its inspiration from King Crimson's Larks Tongue In Aspic. It's fast-paced, but changes come quick. What might be called the chorus in this song is surreal. Meanwhile, "Soothsayer" takes the listener on a strange trip to the Middle East that only the Volta could provide.\nThis album is The Mars Volta's most ambitious work by far. It sounds fuller, and it's evident The Mars Volta has matured and come into its own. This is easily one of the best albums to be heard in quite some time.

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