Mr Bungle - California
Dribbbbbbble. Drooool. Thank fuckity. Patton is singing. Nope, Patton is croooning. Ah, the world is once more a tolerable place in which to live. Nearly gave up on Bungle after Disco Volante. Just couldnít get the old noggin around that one. But this isnít about Patton. Itís the selling point to many, (me included), but this is a band thing. The whole caboodle. I must not mention the band that had three words in their title, and it began with an F.
Ok, can I start with my faves? Please? Thanks. Ok, the droolicious Pink Cigarette. I've been waiting ages for Patton to do this sort of thing again. Crooon. Sorry, it's not just about him is it, there's the music here as well. The piano ripples, there's a sound that's like that mouth thing he played on Midnight Cowboy when in the band that should not be mentioned but had a middle name that starts with an N.
I found a pink cigarette
oh ahhhh ahhhh
on the bed the day that you left
oh ahhhhh ahhhhhh
and how could I forget that your lips were there
your kiss goes everywhere touching everything but me
Sorry, the chorus just kicked in again as I was listening to this, and I had to sing and type along. This is crooner heaven. And there's a great Patton lyric, as it ends, counting down, There's just 5 hours left until you find me dead .... as it reaches what would be 0, the heart monitor gives out that monotone sound. Superb. I mean, the references are unfair, but did you ever like Evidence by that F band? Yeah, damn right you should've done, that should've been their biggest ever hit. Anyway, like that and you'll love this. Perfection.
I'll just nip through the other mellow moments, cos you know I like them. I mean, this album balances mellow with experimentation, and so heavy is kind of pushed to the side. There are moments, such as the riff towards the end of Goodbye Sober Day, but for the main, this feels like itís 50s doo wop and 60s Beach Boys inspired, and so tuneful. With some eastern tinges, and a little gypsyesque music, with a touch of a deathmetalisms at times. If that worries or scares you, well,
A) Fuck off
B) Did you listen to Clam Abuse? Cos if yes, then if you opened your mind there cos of who was involved (Ginger), then you should do the same here.
Sorry, A was uncalled for. Itís just this album moves me. It means something.
It's not as strange or inaccessible as it may sound. Unless you steadfastly refuse to listen to something that's not ultra heavy, or pure hardcore, or total punk or something such stupid restriction, then gives this a chance. And if your listening habits ARE that set in stone, why the hell you reading this zine? Anyway, Retrovertigo. It's another gentle musical piece. Acoustic guitar melting with organ, Patton crooooooooning. This is what we need. Think of the gentle moments from a band whose final name begins with an M and released an album called King For a gah. Sorry. Wasn't going to mention that band was I. He's singing in that gentle, breathless whisper, almost feminine manner of his. And it's coupled with a great piece of music which means that although it's gentle, it's still able to build to something. And still get those strange instrumental moments in there.
But let's nip back to the start now and Sweet Charity. The sound of summer and the seaside, gently strummed guitars, glowing keyboards, and the first indication that this is going to be the album Patton fans are going to cream themselves over.
Next up is the superbly titled None Of Them Knew They Were Robots, which actually has a full on guitar riff to open up. But soon adds in an old rock'n'roll style bass line, cheesey organ, saxophone and 50s style orchestra vocals. Swing baby swing. Everything's playing off everything else for a complete mindfuck of sunds, pace, moods ... in fact the works.
The Air Conditioned Nightmare is absolutely superb. It twists through so many different styles, the vocals contort and the hook is truly sublime. But itís there. This is adventurous and exciting yet accessible. A total contradiction. But superb. The name Cardiacs runs through the mind on numerous occassions as you listen to the entire album.
Gollem II. Now we hit the strange. There's a sound at the start that's like one of those serrated instruments you used to get in junior school that you'd run a little metal rod against. You know, think goddamnit. I don't know the names of these things. But it's there at the start. and then a fairground like organ thing starts up. A carousel is it. The drums follow the pattern exactly, then bounce off on to something all of their own. There's treated voices and effects zapping both ears. You have to listen to this one on headphones to get its full effect. All the lyrics are spoken through effects. There's so many little things going on here. But where Disco Volante for me tried this but got lost in some kind of very clever noise that was way more intelligent than I am, this keeps it focussed enough for a simpleton like me. Which may mean cries of sell out from their most devout fans who like the inaccessibility and, and I'm sure this will piss them off, the exclusivity of the club that could listen to that album. But it's not sell out, cos it's still different to the vast majority of music that's out there in the mainstream, and even the "alternative" scenes. Besides, itís so much better than them all as well.
The Holy Filament is up. There's a hint of filmscore to this music, it's piano led, higher pitched but still whispered like vocal. Atmosphere. You don't need heavy all the time. If you create the music, and arrange it, then it can work. This could be the theme music to James Bond. Yet it so obviously couldn't.
Vanity Fair sees us pop back to the 50s and 60s. Do wop like things going on. Of course, it works perfectly given some member of the bands penchant for vocal experimentations. He gets to do things, and yet the listener can get it. The vocals are as nasal as has been done since days of The Real album by the band I'm not going to mention. I'm finally naked, yeah I'm naked.
It all ends with Goodbye Sober Day. What a sublime song. First time round it wa "hmmmm- what the fuck was THAT". Next time, that chorus. It's like the first bit starts off almost Cardiacs like, the chorus, oh, how can I sit still listening to it. Then it veers off somewhere else, and takes another tangent again. And then it's back to that chorus, goodbye sober day, it's so upbeat without being upbeat. I really can't explain it. Trust me, the best way to explain this is to come and sit down and listen to it, I then go "oh and this bit" ahead of time due to my excitment and get a shiteating grin on my face as it piles onwards. There's even a chant in here. It's all outrageous. Patton goes into a vocal thing, that eventually becomes a crashing guitar riff, albeit fleetingly. It's everything he's been doing come together perfectly. Just listen to the "cha cha cha chchcha cha" bit. Simply awesome. Then out again to the style of the start of the song and then that chorus. There's so much going on really. It's like you don't have enough limbs to flail in time with it.
I'd almost given up on Mr Bungle. They pushed me away. I'm obviously not a true fan. I don't understand them, and I prefer the accessible moments. So what. The best compliment that I can pay to this album, is that it's so good, it's so redeemed them that I may even try and give Disco Volante a few more listens, just to see if I can't spot the bits this time that I kept on missing before. This is utter utter class. One of the albums of the year. No I mean it, that wasnít just a subtle, or not so subtle reference. Absolute classic.
Fuck, this would've been a killer Faith No .... arrrgh <gets yanked away by irate Mr B fans who just don't want those words uttered>
Look, if you like the "eccentric" moments of System of a Down, you owe it to yourself to try this. They take it that much further. It isnít always "heavier" there are Beach Boys like melodies. Donít be put off. Try some adventure. Get this album. I can say that, cos as I write this, Iíve been listening to it for at least 2 months now.