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The Mars Volta - Qué Dios Te Maldiga Mí Corazón (Album Review)

Friday, 28 April 2023 Written by Emma Wilkes

Lately, releases by the Mars Volta have arrived like buses, with a 10 year drought of music answered by two bodies of work in the space of seven months. Technically, though, they’re the same album. ‘Qué Dios Te Maldiga Mí Corazón’ is a complete acoustic reimagining of the El Paso duo’s self-titled effort, which was released in September of last year.

But with a fresh coat of paint, these songs immediately sound new. They have enough of their own identity to divorce themselves from their rockier counterparts and stand alone, but at points, it’s not enough to cover up the flaws in some of the original blueprints.

The sonic landscape on ‘Qué Dios Te Maldiga Mí Corazón is, for the most part, a tasteful blend of elegant acoustic guitar and chunky percussion,.

At its best, it’s worn with elegance, particularly on the title track, which sashays in with just the right amount of eccentricity. A quietly eerie rendition of NoCaseGain is another highlight, its brooding darkness thrown into relief by the more minimalistic instrumentation, while Tourmaline becomes intriguingly murky when it’s given more of a sense of intimacy. 

But stripping them back also exposes the more shapeless songs on the album for what they are. The shimmering tricks of Graveyard Love gave it a propulsiveness, yet the acoustic version finds itself dragging its heels. Shore Story, meanwhile, when led by a piano, somehow transforms into wallpaper music for a pretentious restaurant. 

Sometimes, it becomes particularly clear that this album isn’t exactly fan service, but came from this band’s specific, individual urge to create something for themselves. That isn’t a bad thing in and of itself, but while there are gems here listeners will have to trawl for them.


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