Controlled Chaos In the Best of Ways
It’d be easy to write off Bosnian Rainbows as heir apparent to The Mars Volta through personnel alone. As the waves of brooding strings and effects course over flashes of cymbals to open their debut eponymous album, those notions quickly dissipate. Pitted against the haunting croon of Teri Gender Bender, first track “Eli” is a sonic eye-opener. Sure, there are experimental tears ripping through every track reminiscent of the both The Mars Volta and its predecessor, At The Drive-In. Any similarities, however, function as creative watermarks of the idiosyncratic Omar Rodríguez-López, whose legendary creative control binges have formed some the greatest tracks under the experimental rock sun.
Though a typical Rodríguez-López project is a hefty helping of an almost overwhelming need to create and innovate, Bosnian Rainbows knows its place. Gender Bender immediately anchors the project through sheer vocal power and prowess. Her overall sound is as distinct and commanding as fellow supergroup frontwoman Mariqueen Maandig of How to Destroy Angels. Where Maandig is just subdued enough to give you what you need yet leave you wanting more, Gender Bender is all-in from the start. “Dig Right In Me” is a testament to that power, its lyrics primarily in the second person.
The flutters of guitars and synth-happy vocal samples going percussively haywire can’t hold a candle to those echo-soaked vocals– not to knock any of the instrumentals on Bosnian Rainbows’ debut LP. At the end of the day, Rodríguez-López has a damn fine ear for composition and familiar band mates are more than happy to accommodate his every whim. Particular instrumental standouts that go hand-in-hand with those aforementioned vocals are “Morning Sickness” and “Always On The Run,” as Rodríguez-López lets his guitar do the talking. Fans pissed at At The Drive-In for greed and The Mars Volta for a hiatus veering on breakup need no longer pout: Bosnian Rainbows offers up a much-needed sucker punch of beautifully controlled chaos.