Album Reviews: Scab Dates by The Mars VoltaWhen The Mars Volta started to break into the music scene, it was their live performances that generated the most excitement, because uncompromising energy and experimentation like theirs is incredibly rare. Following up their critically acclaimed Frances the Mute, The Mars Volta provides a seamless collection of live music that plunges the listener full force into their incredibly psychedelic world.
There is no indication where this album was recorded, only that it was recorded from May 2004 to May 2005. The few indications that this is indeed a live album include brief clapping, the sound quality of some of the instruments, and the goodbye that Cedric Bexler provides at the end. It is the incredible guitar solos, bizarre sound byte incorporations, and Bexler’s uncanny and volatile voice that create a surreal experience unmatched in live albums. Unlike most live albums that clearly distinguish each track, this album is one seamless performance that includes tracks from their various albums without taking the time to point out their origin.
Those familiar with Frances the Mute will find the same tension-building moments that act as passageways to the next track, but this time the instrumentation is heightened both soulfully and by experimenting with furious playing rather than jarring interruptions of silence. Few bands can duplicate the impact that they have while performing live, but the Mars Volta encapsulates their one-of-a-kind show in an album that is a new experience each and every time you listen to it. - Jason Kordich
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