Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
Books
Writings:
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  Playboy
  Blender
  Rolling Stone
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
  Recyclables
  Newsprint
  Lists
  Miscellany
Bibliography
NPR
NAJP Blog
Web Site:
  Home
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell
CG Search:
Google Search:

The Mars Volta

  • De-Loused in the Comatorium [Universal, 2003] C+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

De-Loused in the Comatorium [Universal, 2003]
The most unrepentantly prog band to break in years began when Puerto Rico-born guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Mexican American vocalist Cedric Bixler Zavala rejected At the Drive-In's post-hardcore strictures, with Rodriguez citing salsa as a crucial influence. But his guitar montunos aren't salsa any more than Jon Theodore's Haiti-inflected heavy-muscle drumming is vodun. Salsa requires a groove, which the old people know embodies the community to which each individual is subordinate--such as At the Drive-In's forward thrash, which subsumes the complex songforms and explosive guitar from which the Mars Volta audibly proceed. In the case of Rodriguez's phrases and noises, romantic individualism has its uses. But Bixler's highfalutin inanities--the imagined dreamlife of a suicidal artist, all clotted surrealism and Geddy Lee theatrics--need whatever subordination they can get. C+