The Mars Volta

Scab Dates

Written by: PP on 22/11/2005 14:04:28

Another live album? Oh no, is the first reaction from most people. But if you have seen The Mars Volta live, you know it's an unique experience. Most live albums are just like re-recorded studio albums with in-between-song comments and crowd chanting relentlessly on the background. But despite the sold-out 5,000 capacity venue "Scab Dates" was recorded in, the crowd chants are few and far in between. You may wonder where all the cheers and applauses are, and why it sounds like the whole venue is so silent, but that's because nobody in the crowd knows what the hell is going on. Hell, I didn't know what was going on when I saw them. Their songs are improvised and rendered into unrecognizable forms, and the whole show consists of one long song with twelve 'movements'. It's possible to recognize parts of "Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt" and "Concertina", but if you didn't have the song titles and you were just playing the album, you would have absolutely no clue about that either, because you can hear them all over the album.

Unlike most live albums like Story Of The Year's "Live In The Lou", where it really isn't worth spending your money on the same songs you've already got in "Page Avenue", "Scab Dates"'s 72-minutes of "new" old songs, virtuosos musicianship and sonic exploration is worth every single penny. It feels like being lifted into a parallel dimension, where all you can hear is the dissonance and the incredibly long instrumental improvisation-noise the band is capable of. If music can ever be considered as art in the traditional way, "Scab Dates" would be it.

If you are one of those people longing to hear the exceptional deviations of their old material, or one of those wishing to know what the hell a Mars Volta show is all about, then go ahead and buy "Scab Dates". But be warned, this album is even less accessible than "Frances The Mute" was. If you haven't planned on spending a few spare weeks of your time needed in order to understand something so incredibly complex as this one, then "Scab Dates" is not for you. It's an album that requires intelligence, attention and love for long periods of time. It's one of those albums that in one years time, you'll still be finding new, exciting parts.


Download: Abrasions Mount The Timpani
For the fans of: ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Pink Floyd

Release date 08.11.2005

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