In the hastily performed autopsy of art-rock chameleons the Mars Volta, founding guitarist and producer Omar Rodriguez-Lopez has been cast as the mustachioed villain. It’s not wholly undeserved; in interviews, he often extols the perks of the bad guy brand, even though the reason for the Volta’s breakup, confirmed last month, was that he’d actually grown frustrated with his role as resident whip-cracker. “I definitely want it to open up,” he insisted while working on Noctourniquet, the band’s sixth and (perhaps) final album. “This is the last time I’ll be the dictator of the band.” His eventual solution? Start a new one.
Bosnian Rainbows is certainly more democratic, but the group’s music crackles with just as much unpredictable intensity (a new album is already in the can and set for release this summer). At its rhythmic heart are drummer Deantoni Parks—a latecomer to the Mars Volta’s last incarnation, and a force of nature on the kit—and keyboardist Nicci Kasper, an adept at sinewy synth bass lines and atmospherics. Lead singer Teri Gender Bender, who also fronts the garage-punk outfit Le Butcherettes, harnesses a wide-ranging energy with her style and delivery that recalls Kate Bush, Damo Suzuki and even a young Geddy Lee (on the recently leaked single “Torn Maps,” for instance).
It’s a lineup that only a creative intellect as feverish as Rodriguez-Lopez could hope to wrangle. And with opening act Marriages pouring a lurid foundation of heavy dirges, the night seems primed for mind-bending twists galore.—Bill Murphy
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