Published Dec 14, 2016As Omar Rodríguez-López' 12th solo album of archival material drops this week, the bigger news is probably still the new At the Drive-In single from last week (December 8). "Governed by Contagions," at least in what it represents to many fans, was always going to be more exciting than this final collection of B-side level material. That aside, though, Some Need It Lonely is still one of the lesser collections he's put out this year.
The album opens with "Bitter Sunsets," which features a sort of heavy, hip-hop-ish beat, and shares its title with the second track on Nom de Guerre Cabal, but the vocals are so indecipherably distorted that it's impossible to know whether it's a remix or even related at all.
Tracks two through four are somewhat forgettable experiments in texture, while tracks five through nine are loop-based jams, (barely) redeemed by Teri Gender Bender's singing but cluttered by atonal and dissonant arrangements.
"Ariel," the tenth track, finally offers some reprieve in minor-key, acoustic noodling with some psychedelic percussion textures (chimes and shakers), and eventually builds to a sort of Santana-ish hand-drum beat for the fourth and final minute. The last song continues the vibe with Teri Gender Bender singing again, this time over some murky avant-dub grooves.
This series captures a time of intense prolificacy from ORL, but also demonstrates at least a little narcissism (12 albums?!). It's worth noting that everything he's done since the period documented here is better — Antemasque, Bosnian Rainbows, even the last and arguably weakest album from the Mars Volta. Hopefully, having purged his hard drives, he can now continue work on some brand new, higher quality material. Either way, though, we have new ATDI and Antemasque to look forward to next year. (Ipecac)