Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, 'Xenophanes' (Rodriguez-Lopez Productions)

Critical Mass
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by Spencer Kornhaber

At this point, a new Omar Rodríguez-López album sounds about as thrilling as a Law & Order rerun: Excluding Mars Volta recordings, Xenophanes is his 11th release since 2007. But there's reason to take notice this time, as the album relegates the guitarist's often-tedious sonic experiments to mere interludes. The majority of these tracks are well-drawn interstellar metal songs, featuring López spouting operatic choruses in Spanish (assisted by Mexican singer-songwriter Ximena Sariñana). The result is a listenable, more conventional version of his primary band. Though refreshing in a solo-career context, we've heard most of this stuff before.

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