String Tribute’s are supposed to be some kind of neat novelty item for fans of any “chosen” band to pick up an appreciate. I am a fan of The Mars Volta, and I wanted a neat novelty item paying tribute to their greatness. So I got this. I thought “Man, I can’t imagine what De-Loused In the Comatorium would sound like all tripped out with classical instruments lawl.” Unfortunately, I did in fact not have a clue as to what it would sound like, and thus I downloaded a strangely disappointed, but yet shoulda-known-better, album.
The main problem is that the instruments being used here truly don’t fit the eclectic feel of the music. They’re not nearly flashy enough to capture Jon Theodore’s overplaying, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez’s wanking guitar, and almost never can they capture the vocal power of Cedric, which might be quite obvious, but when they rarely even get the vocal melody down correctly, it’s gets to be a chore to listen to.
Then again, it’s entirely too difficult to fit the strange explosion-of-noise formulas The Mars Volta employ on De-Loused. There’s only so much pizzazz you can really add to a String Quartet tribute; the album drones on and on without much really happening. Remember how entirely too crazy Drunkship of Lanturns
got to be crazy? The insane time signature changes, the incredible vocal effects, and just the general crazy feel of the song? Well, all that’s gone here, replaced by a tedious, melancholy feel that just doesn’t fit the TMV mythos.
In fact, every
song sounds eerily similar. While De-Loused wasn’t quite the most diverse album in the world (at least compared to later TMV projects), there were three or four distinct types of songs. Here, there is only one; the previously mentioned borefest. It’s rare that a song succeeds, and then not even then can it compare to the original song. Cicatriz ESP
is, however, the rare treat, being one of the more exhilarating string tributes I’ve heard, with the vocal melody (being played by a violin) being nearly a perfect fit. The song also is far more upbeat and strangely produced than many of the others, causing it to have an almost…TMV-ish vibe. Wtf, a TMV vibe on a tribute to them? Heresy, I say.
Honestly, I wouldn’t ever, ever, ever listen to this again. It’s truly one of the most disappointing albums I’ve ever heard, and that’s with a large part of me bracing myself for a large disappointment. For all the promise this holds, it’s wasted by the completely generic and uninspired performances and poor instrument choice. You can’t expect much more from an album completely made for profit by session musicians and the String Quartet empire. Don’t bother with this, and truthfully, don’t bother with any
String Quartet Tribute.