SPUN: Frances the Mute

By Bryn Levy

Frances the Mute is the Mars Volta’s follow-up to de-loused in the comatorium. Essentially, it is a concept album based on a diary former band member Jeremy Ward (now deceased) found in a car when he worked as a repo man. Now, there are two types of concept album: good ones (i.e. Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Tommy by the Who) and god-awful ones (i.e. every concept album not among the aforementioned). Frances the Mute is a perfect example of everything wrong with prog-rock. So overproduced, on a first listen it seemed someone had laced the speakers with PCP. Is three-and-a-half minutes of random beeping and fuzz noises ever necessary? The guitar lines are solid, when you’re able to actually distinguish them from the mish-mash of sonic diarrhea surrounding them, but this alone does not a good album make.

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