OMAR RODRÍGUEZ-LÓPEZ AND HIS TWELVE ALBUM SOLO PROJECT
It’s quite possible you haven’t heard the name Omar Rodríguez-López. After spending most of his time over the past twenty-some years in post-hardcore band At the Drive-In, or working on his one-of-a-kind progressive rock band, The Mars Volta, the musician has yet to get the media attention he rightfully deserves.
If you’re familiar with either At the Drive-In or The Mars Volta, hearing anything but the high-pitched vocals from singer, Cedric Bixler-Zavala is somewhat perplexing. While most of what we have heard from Rodríguez-López, the eccentric and experimental guitar player, has been under his own direction, this time around he let’s himself take centre stage. As if to prove the limit of his creativity is endless, Rodríguez-López has set out to provide us with a new solo album every two weeks- twelve set to be released in total. Talk about commitment!
So far, we’ve heard Sworn Virgins, a weirdo-punk album that may remind you of Iggy Pop, if he had been recording in outer space, and Corazones, a softer, and more accessible, however still kind of unusual, follow-up. In "Sworn Virgins," Rodríguez-López hides behind his passion for musical experimentation, shrouding his vocals in distortion and numerous bizarre effects. Throughout the album, we hear strange loops, disconcerting melodies, and sounds that aren’t exactly familiar to the human ear. If you’re a fan of The Mars Volta, you may remember that this musician is not afraid to push the boundaries- eliciting us with multiple minutes of bird-chirps, or some of the most estranged and dark lyrics you may ever find in mainstream music. On this release, he proves he still has that edge.
On Corazones, we witness as different side of Rodríguez-López. For starters, we learn that he doesn’t actually have to rely on his effect pedal, if, on those rare occasion he chooses not to. We also learn that, not only a talented guitar player, Omar is a story-teller, a melody crafter, and a front-man. For his video “Running Away,” Rodríguez-López has used his black book of celebrity friends-(such include former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist, John Fruciante, Eva Gardner and Buzz Osborne), to come and punch him in the face. It’s tortured and comical, but it is also scored by a great track.
Watch the video for “Running Away” below.
As a more acoustic and poetic album than the previous release, Omar’s style is at times reminiscent of the eccentric rocker, Nick Cave. On tracks like “Certainty,” and “Dead Heart,” he echoes a chilling tonality found years prior on Cave’s famous Murder Ballads. On “Arrest My Father,” the musician shows off a bit of his punk side with a witty rock ’n’ roll tune.
In the two weeks between "Sworn Virgins" and "Corazones," Omar Rodríguez-López has already proved that quantity does not always destroy quality. No stranger to a wide range of genres, and numerous side projects, he has taken on a bold and extensive challenge, suited only for a true musical mastermind like himself. Next Friday, the musician is set to release "Saddle on the Atom Bomb". Stay tuned!