The Mars Volta Announce Self-Titled Seventh LP, Share New Song “Vigil”

After teasing their first new album in over a decade with two new songs, The Mars Volta have made it official: The Mars Volta will be released on September 16th via Clouds Hill Records. Pre-orders for the album, along with standard and “Kinetic Edition” vinyls packages are live on the band’s website.

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The Mars Volta’ Cover Art

Back in June, The Mars Volta teased their return from a 10 year hiatus with an audio-visual installation dubbed L’YTOME HODORXÍ TELESTERION. The exhibit was an immersive cube you could enter and hear the lead single (and album opener) “Blacklight Shine”. The following month in July, the band shared a second new song “Graveyard Love” and both songs were accompanied by videos depicting various aspects of music and culture on the island of Puerto Rico. Last Friday, The Mars Volta shared the latest single and music video for “Vigil” – check it out below.

“Vigil” by The Mars Volta. Via YouTube.

These new songs are a noticeable departure from the band’s signature frenetic prog-rock sound. Fans online are praising the new style as the band successfully adopting an accessible pop sound, but it goes much further than that. All of these songs contain various elements of The Mars Volta’s entire catalog, just packaged in a much more cohesive (and concise) way. “Blacklight Shine” is driven by bongo-dominant Caribbean percussions and vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s lustful Spanish vocals. “Graveyard Love” starts off with ominous pulsing synths and punchy bass notes, building up to a climax where Cedric’s vocals are battling a swirling synth and scattered drum hits.

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Cedric Bixler-Zavala (left) and Omar Rodríguez-López (right). Shot by Fat Bob on Leica M11.

At first, “Vigil” is a jarring juxtaposition to any song The Mars Volta has ever written, but put together with the previous singles, the song is a visceral and cohesive part of the new approach the band is taking. The song kicks off with a sporadic but steady drum beat and Cedric singing a dark ballad about the weight and deceit of lost love before the song structure breaks down into swirling vocal and drum loops. Cedric also notes about the song “And the obits wait for a perfect name.”

Diving into the vocals of the band’s catalog is a tough exercise in deciphering broken “Pynchon-esque” passages. On The Mars Volta the band has endeavored to streamline all aspects of the music including the theme. While the vocals are still mysteriously dark, they tell the most cohesive stories the band has ever told all while circling back to the central theme of Puerto Rican culture and the endless colonial rule implemented by the United States over the island.

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The Mars Volta 2022 Tour Dates

According to a press release, “The new album shakes loose some of band’s long-standing shibboleths, with only two tracks lasting longer than four minutes, and the dizzying, abrasive prog stylings of earlier albums absent. The Mars Volta pulses with subtle brilliance, Caribbean rhythms underpinning sophisticated, turbulent song craft.” The album rounds out at 14 tracks, and if the first three are the foundation for this new evolution, the record is going to be a shining example of what a band can be, 10 years after many thought there would be no more.

The US tour kicks off one week after the album is released, on September 22nd in Dallas, Texas. The tour stops at NYC’s Terminal 5 for two shows on September 29th and 30th (both are sold out). Head over to the band’s website to see the full tour details, and to pre-order the new album.

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