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The band’s signature prog rock is on full display here, with some new stylistics thrown in for good measure. The longest track here is “In Absentia”, and at seven and a half minutes it doesn’t outstay its welcome. Overall, Noctourniquet is the most balanced, enjoyable and accessible recording by the Mars Volta yet. It may not feature the portentous epics that dominated the first half of the band’s career, but it still retains the wholly unique sound that they’ve pioneered over the course of 10 years.
Noctourniquet has everything that makes the Mars Volta one of prog’s most important acts, and more importantly it cuts away much of the dead weight that dragged prior releases down. If this is any indication, the Mars Volta are likely to get better from here, as they’ve finally come to the place where they can display their musical chops without going on for too long. This marks an upward trajectory for the band, as well as what will likely be one of 2012’s best prog releases.
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