The Mars Volta Octahedron

The Mars Volta Octahedron
The Mars Volta have made a move to the softer side with the release of their fifth studio album, Octahedron. The result is an album stripped of unnecessary layering and epic instrumental exploration that normally steals centre stage, instead taking a simplistic approach to delivering the high-powered emotional content the band are famous for. While Octahedron definitely holds back and feels more restrained than previous albums, the intensity is by no means lost, as the complexity and intricate arrangements still shine through on their tamest disc to date. Cedric's powerful vocals on opener "Since We've Been Wrong" establish a hauntingly melancholic mood for the disc, with additional tracks "With Twilight as My Guide" and "Copernicus" following in the same vein, focusing mainly on simplistic, immediate arrangements rather than furious electric riffs. Octahedron capitalizes on crucial melodies, pulling back from full-blown experimentation, yet still squeezes in a bit of chaos with frenetic intensity captured on "Cotopaxi" and the tense "Teflon." Despite the softer sound and stripped down approach, the insatiable complexity is the Mars Volta through and through. (Warner)