The Mars Volta – Noctourniquet
Restraint isn't a quality you'd expect to find in any progressive rock band, especially not The Mars Volta; it just doesn't seem to fit. The band's previous effort Octahedron opted for a comparatively stripped back approach, but it lacked the gleefully unrestrained chaos which made their earlier releases so enthralling. Noctourniquet sees Omar Rodríguez-López and co finally strike a balance.
As well as coming equipped with paradigms of their frantic, proggy take on psych-rock (Dyslexicon, Molochwalker), it also pulls off cosmic balladry (Empty Vessels Make the Loudest Sound) and ruminative prog-pop (Vedamalady, Imago) cohesively with a remarkable sense of ease. Again, it's lighter on the hedonistic sprawls – this is probably the most hooky they've been since their inception – but their knack for melody here doesn't come at the expense of their ability to excite. Sufficiently streamlined, LP six easily stands among their best work.