People listen to music as a way of escaping where, or who they are. Artists write and perform music as a way of bringing the listener close, and sharing a perspective of a new, more ideal and idyllic place. In theory, it is a rather simple concept, yet it is one that most commonly doesn’t manifest smoothly. Often an artist can hold onto the illusion of a place for a single song, but, eventually, inevitably, the fog will dissipate and the truth will be revealed once more, it’s just music. But, every once in a while, a band will come along and produce a record so fresh, consistent and clear, that every time you hear it, you are taken with them on a journey: A journey shared by both artist and listener. Octahedron is one of those rare and beautiful voyages.
This album possesses a rather exceptional set of songs, which are firmly planted in the real and familiar. The songs are able to achieve freshness and a sense of inventiveness whilst staying true to The Mars Volta’s signature, globally loved sound. The band promised listeners “an acoustic album” and this is what we got; acoustic yes, mellow and tame, most certainly not.
The Mars Volta employ all of the following characteristics to create their utterly unique and unprecedented sound. In no particular order: rough abrasive guitar, falsetto pitch, psychedelic melodies, over-the-top distortion, troubled sentiments, upsetting images, vicious soundscapes, confusing if incomprehensible vocals, esoteric masterpieces, nostalgic metaphors, beautiful understatements, a nonchalant attitude to mainstream acceptance, cathartic waves of experimentalism, Grace Slick-inspired vocals, epic crescendos, reverb set to maximum, wistful ballads, and incredible talent.
Or instead, you could completely disregard all the aforementioned and listen to the album for yourself and then come up with your own list of adjectives: My bet is the majority will be superlatives!