Mars Volta Televators.
I offer this one up as a bit of a badge for all those bands I heard are good, read were good, had recommended by trusted chums, liked songs by even, but will never get around to exploring properly.
I spend my time in the manner of a down-at-heel Chandler/Hammett/Spillane PI chasing down leads for a red-haired femme fatale, trying to find that one record that will transport me to a higher plane of existence preferably before my mates. Like your classic 1950’s PI I tend to waste my money and take a few beatings down dark alleys during the course of my quest, stumbling from one red herring to another, often to find that it was my client who pulled the trigger anyway – leaving me to rise a sadder and a wiser man, the morrow morn. But just like those books the questing is the thing. I do my best with the resources I have but I can’t chase down every lead and so end the book sitting in my metaphorical office drinking Old-Fashioned from a tooth glass, smoking without inhaling and listening to High Voltage.
All of which self-indulgent nonsense leads us back to Mars Volta, on the face of it this is a band that has 1537 written all over them – formed from the ashes of one of my favourite bands, At The Drive-In, a Rick Rubin production, they had prog chops allied to a serious metallic crunch, really cool names and really cool LP covers by Storm Thorgerson. How could they fail to win my heart? Well I sort of missed them first time around and, although I bought Televators when I saw it on this lovely, yellow vinyl 10″ the LP it was taken from, De-Loused in the Comatorium was difficult to find on vinyl and/or I didn’t have the cash at the time and then other stuff came along. So it remains in my collection a bit of a false lead, the matchbook linking the dead guy to the gambling boat which was planted there by the dame to lead you into an ambush.
None of this reflects at all on The Mars Volta, who I could really be into by now if things had worked out differently*, ‘Televators’ is a good atmospheric track full of interesting noises and having a sweeping, soaring sound to it – probably devastatingly emotional in the context of the original album, but not really striking enough to make it as a single, well put together though it undoubtedly is. The B-side is a live version of a noisier track called ‘Eriatarka’ which does little for me.
I won’t buy De-Loused in the Comatorium now, too many other things have come along and so I’ll leave Televators there as a bit of a monument to those who could have been. Who wants to see their PI’s happily married off anyway?
P.S – the not very good extended PI metaphor was inspired by finishing Benjamin Black’s The Black Eyed Blonde, a really rather brilliant, new Philip Marlowe book.
*although the cover of their Francis The Mute album freaked me out a bit.