The Mars Volta
Octahedron


3.5
great

Review

by Starblind USER (28 Reviews)
November 14th, 2012 | 18 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: We'll be lucky if we eat tonight

Interestingly enough, slower, creepy, melancholic and more straightforward pop flavoured Octahedron got released a year and a half after heavy, loud, and unrelentingly unpleasant The Bedlam in Goliath. If you were to listen to one after the other, you'd think that the band were leading us on with a double album of sorts- one heavy with absolutely zero restraint whatsoever and the other being softer and lighter yet still with an air of darkness. And in a way, you'd kind of guess right. Until 2009, the band had a style of recording and releasing they'd record and write very quickly, in a way giving us new releases every year. They immediately followed up Frances the Mute with Amoutechture, arguably their best work, a year later, leaving us a year before [i]Bedlam[/] came out.

I've always had a love and hate relationship with their way of doing this. In a way, like I said above, it's like we get a new album every year. On the other hand, however, I wasn't a fan of Bedlam at all- sounded rushed, sloppy and messy. So I went into this album with that warning in mind, even ignoring the band's claims that this was their "acoustic" album. And I came away pleasantly surprised.

Octahedron marked the beginning of a new era for the band. They got less proggy and more pop rock. I wouldn't really call any of the songs on this album prog to begin with- maybe "Desperate Graves" and "Luciforms", which ultimately are the closest album gets to sounding like old Volta. The songs are more straightforward song verse/chorus/verse/chorus type song structures, and gone are the dizzying scales typically found in the band's music.

So, are you an old Volta fan who wants De-Loused all the time who has been scared away by that last paragraph I wrote? If not, continue reading this review.

Just like an octahedron has 8 sides, this octahedron has 8 songs. All of the songs are beautiful and surreal nightmares that are lovely yet scary. All the songs will make you feel as if you're stranded in the middle of the desert, with the sky a vibrant red and the threat of a UFO about to fly over your head and kidnap you for experimenting. This is also without a doubt the band's most focused work to date. In place of the craziness for the sake of craziness are more focused riffs and sections of songs as well.

No doubt that "Teflon" will ultimately thrill you with it's groovy beat and the singalong chorus of "Let the wheels burn, let the wheels burn/Stack the tires to the neck/with the body inside" will have many raising their voices at concerts. The song does sound like traditional Mars Volta with a twist, and the 70s keyboards add even more atmosphere. "Copernicus" is a late highlight on the album, which is all soft guitar chords with sprinkles of keyboards, and harmonized vocals by Cedric. At just over 7 minutes, the song is haunting and beautiful and will definitely go down as one of the band's best ballads. Hell, it's even creepy in places.

"Since We Were Wrong" is the softest possible song you'll ever hear opening a Mars Volta album- the first two minutes is a synth note, before it segues into a lovely ballad that sums up the album perfectly- a beautiful nightmare. And "Desperate Graves" is the song on the album that will remind you of De-Loused era tunes, simply an excellent nostalgia trip.

The only real gripe I have about this album is that "Cotopaxi" feels rather out of place on the album. It's a great song indeed and is a nice 4 minute anthemic jolt of energy, but since this is essentially the band's acoustic pop album, it does feel like it would be better placed on Bedlam. And aside from a few bad choices in a few other songs, Octahedron is still an album I recommend very much to a pedestrian listener, as it's easily their most accessible yet. There's enough to appeal to the longtime fans, but there's also lots to appeal to even the most pedestrian of listeners, and hopefully this album can serve as a great gateway for new fans, even if they haven't heard De-Loused in the Comatorium yet.



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user ratings (1464)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
oltnabrick
November 14th 2012


31564 Comments


worst TMV

Hep Kat
November 14th 2012


15399 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

LET THE WHEELS BURN

Digging: Burning Kitchen - Many Wonder About the Meaning of Life

cb123
November 14th 2012


2058 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

think i'm in the minority who really enjoys this album

Chortles
November 14th 2012


18094 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

i like it

Digging: Cocteau Twins - Treasure

tommygun
November 14th 2012


25413 Comments


Some good shit on here, opening track rules, gotta jam more. Review is ok but you might wanna proofread before posting, there's a coding error in the first paragraph and a couple of other mistakes.

ThunderNeutral21
November 14th 2012


3864 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

they used to be, this is the worst album of all time though

ThunderNeutral21
November 14th 2012


3864 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

its horrible

VermicideReloadead
November 14th 2012


1433 Comments


I prefer their early albums but it has a lot of enjoyable tunes, the problem with this was the drastic change compared to their other works.

ChuckyTruant
November 14th 2012


15725 Comments


Review reads like a 4 or maybe even 4.5

Chortles
November 14th 2012


18094 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

this is not a 1

Oceanus
November 14th 2012


877 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is way better than Noctourniquet and easier to get through than Bedlam.

In the first paragraph you've got a coding error.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 14th 2012


16131 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

damn sonic really like this

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 14th 2012


16131 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

even many volta fans hate this too hehe

Youtellme
November 14th 2012


1351 Comments


"they used to be, this is the worst album of all time though"


So it's also the second album you've ever heard, then?

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 14th 2012


16131 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cotopaxi is great on here

oltnabrick
November 14th 2012


31564 Comments


The song writing is pretty weak for a Mars Volta album

Youtellme
November 14th 2012


1351 Comments


I agree, but it's pleasant to listen to.

Also your avatar creeps me out, bring back brick

oltnabrick
November 14th 2012


31564 Comments


"steve carell avatars are so 2005" or so I was told lol



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