Out of the womb, I believe Mike Patton was on a mission. And that mission was to make music that puts people in a position where they fear for their safety. By now, most of you have at least heard the rumors that Mike Patton’s imagination is a bit on the dark, quirky, and unpredictable side. To say the least, his music is not the most approachable. In short, it is creepy. It ranges from bubbly and groovy, to harsh screaming and sounds of murder, with crunching guitar and jazzy saxophones- All in 5 seconds. Mr. Bungle, on of the most remarkable Patton projects, is the epitome of ADHD. It is a bit unsettling. Combining inhumane amounts of profanity, and the most annoying sounds you could imagine, Mr. Bungle make good music that scares everyone. I guess it only goes to show, Tourette’s syndrome can be a good thing. Mr. Bungle’s debut record was released around the same time as Mike Patton’s most famous project, Faith No More, was in the height of their career. And it is nothing what an easy going listener would ever think of touching. But still, the music manages to be very creative, and good, whilst you are constantly peeking over your shoulder to see if an axe murderer is towering over you.
The weirdest part of the music is without a doubt, Mike Patton’s vocals. He sings with a little whiny moan, but turns a sharp corner and screams with a growling tone, or starts laughing maniacally. The two weirdest songs that come to mind, on this album, are ‘Carousel’, which, backed by carnival music and distorted guitar, blended with an alto saxophone, ground Patton’s piercing voice where he either moans, groans, laughs, or growls, and ‘Squeeze Me Macaroni’, where he rapidly spits out Mother Goose nursery rhymes during the chorus, or blazes through odd lyrics in front of a fusion blend of slap bass and tenor saxophone. And on the peculiar ‘Love is a Fist’, you can undoubtedly hear Patton’s influence on an early Brandon Boyd, lead singer of funk/rock band, Incubus, from their days in Fungus Amongus and SCIENCE. No doubt, Patton was probably tormented as a child, because no sane, normal human being, would ever think to make that much annoying noise, in that short amount of time. And on top of that, the song lengths are anything but user-friendly, usually clocking in at well over six minutes, making this album a little bit less than easy to handle.
Musically, the album is a visionary. The guitar playing is very precise, and frequently utilizes technical skill, because lets face it, they probably aren’t worrying too much about timing. Songs like ‘Quote Unquote’, which features a heavier-than-hell riff, ‘My Ass is on Fire’ where effect pedals shape some cool sounds, like wah-wah riffing, and ‘Egg’ has some very fast playing around on the instrument. Trevor Dunn (phenomenal bassist) provides the majority of the groove, even if you really aren’t worrying about the fantastic rhythm section. But the locking in of the drums and bass is great. ‘Dead Goon’, a 10-minute gore-suite which will make you feel numb from fear, features some very cool, slinky basslines, and his slapping on the jazzy ‘Squeeze Me Macaroni’ is to die for. His tone isn’t all that bad, either. You’ll definitely notice the use of horns on most songs. Saxophones make a number of appearances, like on the previous track mentioned, as well as the weird, carnival-ish, trippy ‘Carousel’. But the sheer talent on every song, in my opinion, does not hold up to the genius of ‘Slowly Growing Deaf’ and ‘Stubb (A Dubb)’. Both tracks, fitting the bill of Patton’s idea of ‘let’s make ‘em *** themselves’ also feature some awesome grooving between the rhythm section, as well as the jazzy sound that sculpt the horn section. While it may be frightening, and extremely peculiar, this album was a formidable, acquired listen that wasn’t all that bad.
Once you get past Mike Patton’s need to make music that makes you feel as uncomfortable as possible, listening to this album will become an acquired taste that isn’t so bad after all. Although this might be the band’s least approachable album, it was certainly their most inventive. But believe me, your feelings on the first listen will be absolutely shocked.
Hah. I heard Squeeze Me Macaroni and enjoyed about the first 30 seconds before I got a bit uneasy. This was great writing as usual, Ent. Maybe I'll check out Girls Of Porn but other than that I think I'll try to stay away from this one...
You submitted this on the right day as well. God forbid you would have submitted yesterday. There was an explosion of about 5 reviews every 20 minutes. Washed away my Damaged from the home page in less than a half-hour. :upset:
This album is weird as hell. It's as if somebody put every form of music available in a room, and compressed it all onto one cd. Styles on this album change faster than a metro kid goes through clothing.
I missed this somehow. Cool review. This album's my second favourite Mr. Bungle album...Disco Volante is an album I can't love although I like it, but this is experimental Patton at his best. Really good stuff.
I love this cd. I notice alot of people saying how the songs are wierd or uncomfortable to listen to at first, but I really didn't have a problem with that. And the songs on this album really show where Incubus got their influence for "Fungus Amongus" from
'Carousel' is my least favorite off the album. Nothing really stands out on here, every song is solid but I think that this album is a bit...gimicky. It's hard to describe but sometimes I just can't even listen to this. That being said this is still an excellent album.
I'm a complete Patton whore. I'll listen to any Patton Project and like it, even if i don't like it, just because of him. It doesn't really make sense, but neither does most of his music, so it's a win-win scenario.
I think it's a decent review but it is definetly lacking in a few areas. First of all, the review concerns Patton a little too much. I think he is amazing vocalist, probably the best ever, but what he does COMPLIMENTS the music, doesn't totally overpower it. Patton also had less writing of the music then your review makes it sound. Trey Spruance (guitar) and Trevor Dunn (bass) had just as much (and probably more) writing of the music as Patton did. Fantomas is what is in Patton's imagination, NOT Bungle. Mr. Bungle is his high school band. He was in it way before he was in Faith No More, and way before he was any good at singing. These songs were all written before the 'What is it?' of Epic. Personally I think this is Mr. Bungle's best album, while each 3 of them is unique in their own way.