I think I can conclude that Omar Rodriguez-Lopez never seems to give up on the music industry…
He has been way all over the place in this world, starting with the post hardcore band in 1996, At The Drive-In, which was a huge success musically and commercially; the perfect example of what great music should be. His next gig with The Mars Volta would also continue to have a lot of benefits, such as the heavily spastic Deloused in the Comatorium, the Latin infused Frances the Mute, and early him more commercial honor (HINT, HINT: the Grammy Award he got for Wax Simulacra). And so, you’d think after 18 years well spent as a professional musician, he’d take a break for a while. NOPE. Instead, in a mounting load of shock, we find out that Rodriguez-Lopez is now working with a new band, Bosnian Rainbows. By seeing what direction he as a solo artist and in The Mars Volta was going in, his newest group’s self-titled debut was both unpredictable and yet so predictable.
The first question arrises: what was so unpredictable? Bosnian Rainbows features a female vocalist. Not that it ruins everything (or anything, for that matter), it’s just very different. By different, I mean it is actually, on contrary, rather fresh. Rodriguez-Lopez was consistently working in bands that had a bunch of vocalists such as Cedric Bixler-Zavala, who often meticulously used very inconspicuously high vocals. Teri Gender Bender, the BR vocalist has a deeper, more mature voice and in certain perspectives, sounds more musically interesting. Her lyrics are fun, upbeat, and in certain ways, clever. This is a case in which unpredictability is very handy, providing pleasant surprises. However, this album can also provide some pretty bad bombs.
For one part, what is unpredictable in a negative way is the current artistic direction that Rodriguez-Lopez is taking with Bosnian Rainbows. In comparison to Nocturniquet, the self titled album’s genres are slightly more divorced than usual. The themes in Bosnian Rainbows, shockingly, lean closer and closer towards an alternative rock, indie, and even electronica at extreme intervals. Cases as these are such: Omar’s musical exploration beyond the usual, whimsical, and muscle-spasm induced psychedelia, prog rock, and post hardcore is rather dangerous. This is going to cost him quite a few valuable points. If there’s anything bright about this mission, in any way, it is simple; at least the album is very consistent. It doesn’t just go straight from pure alt rock to extreme electric fused indie. It combines a few workable genres of music together, making Bosnian Rainbows still sound somewhat exiting. If something still is the same for Rodriguez-Lopez, it is that his guitar playing still speaks and sounds good. He delivers abrasive melodies to an album that desperately needed it.
To sum it up, Bosnian Rainbows is a new dramatic direction for an Ex-Mars Volta guitarist, who has been through a lot, including the band breakup, the return to At the Drive In, and the death of his mother. The album is the sign of the times in his life and for music fans all over the world. To put it simply, before you buy this in any form, ask yourself this album: do you like indie and alt rock a lot? Do you also like electronica? And for that matter, are you adept to artistic contract over the years? If so, then you will probably enjoy this album. For me, personally, it struck a far chord. It felt like Omar was doing this only for the music industry’s benefit. But still, not completely ruined.