Omar Rodriguez-López - Xenophanes
The solo work of Omar Rodriguez-López can vary wildly from sheer noise (see Despair) to records considered as Mars Volta releases in everything but name (Old Money, Cryptomnesia) given that he writes the music for both and they usually share the same musicians. This, his thirteenth solo album in five years, is the first to feature his own vocals (in Spanish), albeit distant and heavily manipulated by effects (try not to picture Ricky Martin singing along to King Crimson underwater). Being responsible for the lyrics and singing seems to have focused the more excessive guitar noodling and electronic doodles which often smother even the best of his solo work. Meticulously crafted throughout, Xenophanes - whilst undeniably a difficult and experimental affair - is largely (and surprisingly) shorn of excess. The result is an album that can sit comfortably alongside his full time band's strongest output as a significant addition.