His latest band Bosnian Rainbows emerged after Rodríguez-López put The Mars Volta on hiatus for a more democratic project, where he felt it would be a proper band rather an autocrat-run affair. Joining him were Le Butcherettes singer Teri Gender Bender (perhaps known to her mum has Teresa), Mars Volta drummer Deantoni Parks and Nicci Kasper.
But, with that eclectic mix of musicians in place, what can we expect musically? The songs on ‘Bosnian Rainbows’ are shorter and more concise than output from The Mars Volta, and you won’t find any of the wild aggression of At The Drive In here. It’s much more controlled and cool. Saying that I Cry for You is a bit more primal. Vocally and lyrically it has desperation; especially when Gender Bender sings “and every day I cry for you”.
The middle third of the album is the strongest, which comes as no surprise given that the first three singles of the album were Torn Maps, Turtle Neck and the recently released Morning Sickness. The latter, a stripped down electronic-driven song with a head nodding rhythm, is a particular stand out. The former along with Always On The Run have hints of Gang Of Four and the more melodic side of German rockers Can can be heard throughout the album.
Teri Gender Bender’s vocals are distinctive and come across as a mixture of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O and Marina and The Diamonds. It’s a striking performance throughout. Occasionally the singing is augmented with fractured vocal effects such as on Worthless and Dig Right In Me while The Eye Fell In Love contains some of Teri Gender Bender’s catchiest vocal melodies, married to deep rumbling bass lines and jangling guitar.
Lyrically , there is a theme of sorrow, evident on choruses such as “All the feelings I have for red are dead” and “I choose to ignore it, thinking I was better off dead” from Red and Mother, Father, Set Us Free respectively. Despite appearing downbeat the songs on the album have more hooks that a ship of pirates. It’s hard to say what direction Omar Rodríguez-López will take next, however it’s undeniable that this is one of the most satisfying projects he has participated in.
If you like Bosnian Rainbows, do yourself a favour and check out Irish band Fight Like Apes.