Saturday, September 3, 2005

The Mars Volta ó Frances The Mute
Saurabh & Gaurav

IF youíve heard The Mars Voltaís full-length debut De-Loused in the Comatorium, you wonít be surprised by Frances the Mute ó which is to say youíll expect an endless stream of surprises. In the space of 10 minutes, you could be listening to Latin-influenced rock, bizarre sounds of birds chirping, or a mix of funky jazz. At times, this translates into relatively straightforward songcraft, as on The Widow. The lyrics of Miranda That Ghost Just Isnít Holy Anymore and Widow are mysterious and immediately identifiable. Martinez-Lopez pushes things into a futuristic world. Overall this remains an album for cult fans of progressive rock.

Best track: The Widow

Worst track: Tarantism

Rating: ***

Limp Bizkit ó The Unquestionable Truth Part 1
(Geffen Records)

Limp Bizkit ó The Unquestionable Truth Part 1The big news is that guitarist Wes Borland is back from exile, and heís brought a whole lot of blistering guitar fuzz with him. The lyrical flow seems much more deliberate, almost like a tirade, with smarter lyrics. The Propaganda is first to declare that this is by far Limp Bizkitís heaviest effort to date, but itís not entirely all that different either. The raw sound mixed with Borlandís obvious presence stand out. The Priest is a schizophrenic affair, with the same heavy theme from the preceding tracks. The Story sounds like it could have been lifted from Limp Bizkitís debut, while the final track The Surrender has Durst attempting to sing once again, but unlike Behind Blue Eyes (From Results May Vary), this sounds like the band that has no idea where it is going.

Best track: The Truth

Worst track: The Surrender

Rating: **

Garbage ó Bleed Like Me
(Warner Music)

Garbage ó Bleed Like MeAfter the poor commercial performance of 2001ís Beautiful Garbage, the three producers suffered a number of personal problems that included serious illness, break-ups and creative differences. The recovery process hasnít brought about any mellowing though, as evidenced by the kicking and screaming in Bleed Like Me. The electro-pop tones of their last offering have been replaced by brash, brawling guitars that propel the gnarled Metal Heart and Run Baby Run. Itís choc-a-block with moments that are almost great. Itís All Over But The Crying is the traditional, three-quarter-mark ballad, but then comes Boys Wanna Fight, stirring unwelcome thoughts of Republica. Itís the albumís title track that really catches attention. What makes the album special is Shirley Mansonís voice which is still in fine form after a cyst was removed from her vocal chords. Sweet, angry, chilled-out, sarcastic: Mansonís vocals are almost enough reason for buying the album.

Best track: Bleed Like Me

Worst track: Enemy

Rating: ***

Album of the month

KT Tunstall ó Eye to the Telescope

KT Tunstall ó Eye to the TelescopeKT Tunstall is clearly a busy woman. She not only wrote and co-wrote all the songs on this CD but also played a dozen instruments and did the illustrations and some of the photography on the CD cover. KT confirms her credentials with this album as a Scottish singer. The opener, Other Side of the World, is one of the more instrumentally complex and expansive numbers on the album. The folksy Under the Weather and Suddenly I Seeís is appealing. The album concludes with three very different songs again emphasising Tunstallís capability with different styles. Stoppiní the Love features distinctive cello bowing, Universe & U demonstrates her song-writing capability and Through the Darkís her piano skills. Tunstallís vocal beauty has won us over. There may be no Angel From Montgomery here, but if you like Streetlights, youíll probably like Telescope.

Best track: Other Side of The World

Worst track: False Alarm