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The Mars Volta 

Noctourniquet (Warner)

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After recording the mostly forgettable and ostentatious Octahedron, the band is back in full force, sounding closest to the power and urgency that came with major-label debut De-loused in the Comatorium nearly 10 years ago. The album retains the bands signature sound of punk meets The Smiths meets prog-metal, yet sounds restrained compared to the rest of their catalogue (possibly due to the absence of recording partner John Frusciante, who added some of the weirder flourishes to the band’s albums). “Aegis” sounds like early 2000s Radiohead, while “Empty Vessels Make the Loudest Sounds” could be a Spirtualized B-side. But don’t worry. Even if you don’t like the album, at least At the Drive-In is back for the summer.

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