Wasn't the reforming of At the Drive-In meant to be one of the most talked about goings on in the world of rock music this year. I must say, I see no such evidence of such a fuss being raised regarding the issue. As far as I know, all that's come for the group is some tour dates in America and a cute little spot on the NME stage at this years Reading & Leeds festival. Not that that's bad or anything, but they're meant to be a legendary post-hardcore band and they seem to be on par with The Maccabees and dance duo Justice. Again, shouldn't more fuss be made?
However, the lack of mass anticipation surrounding the ATD-I reunion has meant guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López and vocalist Cedric Rodríguez-López have been able to focus more on their more accomplished and more widely recognised prog-rock outfit, The Mars Volta and with this they have delivered their sixth album Noctourniquet and it is just a beautiful listening experience.
Textured and layered with a mixture of slick and funky guitar riffs and shimmering, electronic backdrops with lush ethereal tranquility, the sound of the album is that which hits hard while keeping up a high level of chilled subtlety.
Obviously the album has many moments of genuine strength and stand out moments such as Bixler-Zavala's sonic wailing of "I'm a landmine, so don't just step on me." and the instantly gripping swinging riffs that play across Lapochka is leveled with anticipation throughout.
Though, boasting some of the bands most innovative work so far the extra lightness on Noctourniquet makes the album also one of the group's most accessible attracting more people who like their Radiohead and big choruses that would attract the most devoted Muse fans are also much more available on this album. Combining this with a greater sense of experimentation and charming songwriting makes this an album of flourishing success.
So, it seems strange for a conceptual prog rock album to be made by two men who should be spending all their time right now bigging up the post-hardcore band that everyone is getting excited for this summer, but the focus Rodríguez-López and Rodríguez-López have put on this album truly pays off. It is every bit the work of art.
The Mars Volta's Noctourniquet is out via Warner Bros.