By Andrew McNally, Columnist
The Mars Volta: "Noctourniquet"
Prolific, experimental prog-rockers The Mars Volta have finally released "Noctourniquet," recorded three years ago. Known for heavy, complex instrumentation and screechingly high vocals, the album delivers, but only occasionally. The guitar work is almost completely missing, but has been replaced by intricate percussion. There's less experimentation, with more focus on lyrics, but with Cedric Bixler-Zavala's high-pitched vocals, they're often indecipherable. But the album's main problem is its length. At over an hour, it drags on; the result of nearly every track feeling a little too lengthy. It's decent, but not one of their stand-outs.
If You Like: At The Drive-In, Pink Floyd
The Used - "Vulnerable
The phrase "screamo veterans" does not exist, but the Used would fall under it. As with any typical Used album, the first few tracks hook you in, and the remaining nine let you go again. There's little change in their music. It's 'blah,' as always. Bert is screaming less with age, but most of the songs are quickly paced. The lyrics are often contradictory between songs, showing no real theme throughout. If one song is about falling in love, the next is about murdering someone, and they might as well be about the same person. It's better than 2009's "Artwork," but it's just another Used album.
If You Like: My Chemical Romance, other Used albums
All-American Rejects - "Kids on the Street"
The All-American Rejects have never been known to be at the forefront of music, but with "Kids in the Street," they delve into as much experimentation as pop-punk will allow. The Rejects put a strong effort towards making every song sound unique, and, I'll go ahead and spoil it - they succeed. The slower songs draw on emotion without sounding corny. Some tracks sound more traditionally rock, and some still haven't dropped the big pop-punk choruses. It might not win any new fans to the genre, but it is certainly a strong output for those who will appreciate it.
If You Like: New Found Glory, Jimmy Eat World