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Omar Rodriguez-Lopez - Old Money

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Rating: * * * *

First some statistics. This is the eighth solo album by the guitarist from Texan loonies Mars Volta since 2003, and also in that time he's released four Mars Volta albums and two collaborative records. He's a crazed and obsessive chap, who should probably get out more, but to produce something as twisted yet appealing as Old Money, then you have to be a little mad.

It is, if you haven't already suspected, a loose concept album (although when is a Mars Volta album not?) about exploitative "old money" industrialists like the Rockefellers who get a whole song dedicated to them with the cheeky title I Like the Rockefellers' First Two Records, But After That ....

It's funny how Old Money is music that's not suitable for many, if any, occasions but it still manages to be a triumphant and electrifying work. Like the end of 1921, made up of chinking bells and early morning chants, like somewhere from the Middle East, which flows into the suitably disdainful and sludgy dissonance of Family War Funding (Love Those Rothschilds).

It's his best and most accessible solo album, with the others an extreme mix of art, ambience and alienation, yet because Old Money is filled with squally saxophones, demented sci-fi discord, climactic chaos, with outbursts of Mars Volta groove, it's anything but easy on the ear.

Scott Kara



- NZ Herald

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