Published Nov 02, 2016Omar Rodríguez-López is known to most as the guitarist and driving force behind At The Drive-In and the Mars Volta. He's basically worshipped in psych- and prog-rock circles, and has released over 25 albums under his own name (and collaborated with the likes of John Frusciante, Hans Zimmer, Erykah Badu and more). This year, he decided to release 12 full-length albums: one every two weeks for six months. The sheer quantity of music (and ego) is impressive, and has ranged from the Mars Volta-type outtakes to folk-pop to compositions inspired by classical Indian music.
His latest, the eighth in this series, is a two-pronged venture into electronic music that alternates between thumping electro-pop and experimental interludes. It was co-written with his brother, Marcel, with some backing vocals from long-time collaborator Teri Gender Bender.
Though Marcel has played in the Mars Volta and has his own psychedelic rock band, the duo's collaboration here more resembles Marcel's electronic output as Eureka The Butcher — at least, half of it does. Every even-numbered track is thumping electro-pop, sounding like an attempted mix of the heavy, Chvrches-esque synth bangers with the muffled vocals and earnest explorations of Neon Indian. The results are tangled, but at least engaging.
The other half, the odd-numbered tracks, are electronic experiments that come off like unfinished sketches, perhaps intended for film or TV but somewhat indecipherable without any other context.
Diehard fans might be tickled to hear this new sound from ORL, but the muffled vocals, aggressive beats and frustrating alternating structure probably won't draw in any new fans. (Ipecac)