“Xenophanes” – Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (Joint Review)
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez has released several albums in 2009, through both solo work and The Mars Volta. Xenophanes is a return to his “louder” work that was left behind with the release of The Mars Volta’s album Octahedron. It is also the first record where he has sung on many of the tracks, the record itself is sung in Mexican and it gives the album a very unique sound, compared to the somewhat generic music being released at the moment.
His earlier solo work has been somewhat of a lottery, there have been some great albums but also some that were possibly too ambitious, Xenophanes is definitely one of his best works. His latest work Solar Gambling goes one step further and is, in my opinion, his best solo work to date (expect a review in the near future). This resurgence of seriously good and ground-breaking albums in the past few months has cemented in my mind that Omar Rodriguez-Lopez is the most innovative musician of the last ten years.
To Xenophanes itself, it’s edgy, groovy and leaves the listener wanting more. The drum tracks are especially notable, they give the tracks life beyond the guitar and help with the overall feel and balance of these tracks. The remarkable thing is that, compared to his guitar work on The Mars Volta, his playing seems more accurate and precise on Xenophanes, which gives the tracks and album a more focussed feeling and vibe.
Xenophanes is not an album of standout songs, it’s more of a standout album. While some may argue that there’s nothing on the record that catches their interest, you have to view this album as a whole and as a piece of music that is not trying to be a hit song, rather an album that is meant to take the listener on a journey through Omar Rodriguez-Lopez’s musical mind.
This is an album that will grab the attention of Mars Volta fans, as well as people that are looking for a type of music that is based around flow and feel more than expert songwriting, although it could be argued that writing music like that is a sign of brilliance in terms of songwriting.
As for a rating it’s an extremely solid album but I’m going to leave the supremely high rating for his latest work. Keeping that in mind, I think it deserves a extremely commendable 8/10. I really do urge people to grab this album, it will definitely not disappoint.
Standout Tracks: Azoemia, Desarraigo