The Mars Volta: Noctourniquet

You know how there are some bands that you just kind of listen to but then there are bands that you listen to? I’ve always seen a difference. Some musical artists I just enjoy listening to with nothing more than surface enjoyment, but some bands are so deep and so talented that they really pull you into their waters and you’re totally consumed. The Mars Volta have always been that kind of band to me. I was so excited when I heard Noctourniquet was coming out. If you haven’t heard this band, shame on you. But read this first and then go listen.

The band starts this album off in true Mars Volta fashion – as different from anything else you could hear as possible. The Whip Hand feels like a rock song from Saturn. There are all kinds of almost electronic under-water sounds layered over the the exquisite guitar work.

Empty Vessels Make the Loudest Sound slows things down a tad by focusing more on the music and less on experimental sounds. If you listen closely to the guitar work, your mind is sure to be blown. I’m no guitar player, but this band constantly amazes me with the level of their talent.

If you aren’t used to it, or you haven’t heard this band before, you should know that they are fond of lengthy tracks. Some people are fine with a twenty minute song and some people don’t have a listening attention span past four minutes, but The Mars Volta pushes that envelope constantly. In Absentia, the longest track on the album, weighing in at seven minutes and twenty-six seconds, is a psychedelic trip through a beautiful crafted song that will change paces and keys on you so many times that you won’t  know you’re in the same song.

The band wrap the album up with Zed and Two Naughts. Unlike so many of the other tracks (or maybe it’s my own brain), this song spotlights vocals and drums more so than stringed instruments. Don’t get me wrong, the strings make their appearance known when the chorus strikes like lightning, but this one belongs to vocals and drums.

If you check out the band’s Facebook page and visit the About page, you’ll get an eye full. Under the “genres” tab, they have quite a compilation: progressive rock, experimental rock, alternative rock, funk metal, and Latin. I don’t know if this was someone choosing random descriptions, but I can gather every single one of those from this album. While it isn’t their best album – or my personal favorite – it’s great to hear such musical wonders hanging around my ear drums again. I really can’t even describe this band to you merely using words. The Mars Volta are one of those bands that you have to really hear.


Key Tracks
The Malkin Jewel (track 5)
Dyslexicon (track 3)
Empty Vessels Make the Loudest Sound (track 4)

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