The Mars Volta

Recently, I’ve been on a Mars Volta kick listening to all of their albums again (and waiting for the new one. Noctourniquet, showing up on March 27).  My first exposure to them was through Amputechture (the one with “The Street Fighter” cover as Pitchfork so eloquently put it) which I bought on a whim. The initial reaction I had was WTF I have no clue what is going on here.  But, the more I listened to it more the more I was able to follow the jams and the music and really liked it.  I then began to pick up all the older albums, starting with Deloused in the Comatorium, then Frances the Mute, followed by The Bedlam in Goliath, Octahedron, and finally Tremulant.  I still need to get the Frances the Mute single, but I just haven’t yet.

After listening to them a whole heck of a lot, I’ve decided the best way to introduce someone to The Mars Volta through their full length albums is Deloused in the Comatorium.  Followed by Frances the Mute, The Bedlam in Goliath, Octahedron, and finally Amputecture.  Deloused and Frances both provide a more coherent story than the other albums in my opinion.  The Bedlam in Goliath is very heavy and Octohedron is the ying to Goliath’s yang so they go together in my mind as a full album.  Finally, Amputechture is an album where they really go all over their map in their musical experimentation which could really turn some people off if it is the first thing you hear of theirs (at least from what I’ve heard and seen).  As a nice list I’d get their albums in this order:

  1. Deloused in the Comatorium
  2. Frances the Mute
  3. The Bedlam in Goliath
  4. Octahedron
  5. Amputechture

If you’ve never heard of The Mars Volta, hopefully this little primer will give you the power to jump into the wild and fun world of their music without wondering WTF is going on.  And if you are already a Mars Volta fan, you’ll give me some feedback on what your favorite Mars Volta albums are.