Faith No More displays diversity and soul on upcoming Album of the Year

by Heather Scott
Staff Writer

Faith No More: Album of the Year
(Reprise Records)

Listening to a Faith No More album is often like listening to a radio station that's spinning tunes from across musical extremes.

With Faith No More's latest, the optimistically titled Album of the Year, the band offers a little of everything. Styles on the album represent an interesting musical spectrum, from heavy metal to punk to ballads.

Yet, even with the diversity in musical styles present on the album, the San Francisco Bay area band maintains a sound of its own throughout.

Unlike the band's 1995 release, King For a Day, Fool For a Lifetime, Album of the Year balances orchestral keyboards with heavy guitars. This contrast became the band's trademark during the early 1990s with hits such as "Epic."

Singer Mike Patton once again displays his schizophrenic vocal chords, shifting smoothly from deep harmonies and soulful crooning to rapid-fire patter and gut-wrenching screams, often within the space of one song.

The band's sense of humor, another one of its trademarks, is evident on the campy Motown knock-off "She Loves Me Not" and the warped "Home Sick Home."

Another characteristic of Faith No More albums seems to be replacement of a band member, and Album of the Year marks the debut of guitarist Jon Hudson. Hudson is the third guitar player to join the band since the 1993 departure of the original guitarist, Jim Martin.

Rumors of Faith No More's demise spread when band members' other musical projects came into the spotlight. Keyboardist Roddy Bottum's stint as guitarist and singer with his other band, Imperial Teen, led to false reports that he had quit Faith No More.

Drummer Mike Bordin's moonlighting as Ozzy Osbourne's drummer and Patton's two solo albums and work with his other band, Mr. Bungle, also fueled the rumors.

Album of the Year proves that Faith No More is still very much intact. The album was co-produced by the band's bassist, Billy Gould, along with Roli Mosimann. While it retains a flavor belonging uniquely to Faith No More, don't expect a rehash of old material.

"Last Cup of Sorrow," the first single from the album, is an atmospheric rock bit with a permeating keyboard melody. The video for the single, due out this week, features a cameo appearance from actress Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Highlights from the album include "Stripsearch," a soulful ballad with a Faith No More twist. "Mouth to Mouth," with its frolicking keyboards, adds a little Middle Eastern flavor to the album. Absurdity abounds, and this song's just plain fun to listen to.

Warped and distorted guitars in "Naked in Front of the Computer" give the song a really interesting feel. Also interesting are the fast-paced vocals that perfectly match the song's somewhat erratic drumming.

"Ashes to Ashes," a straightforward anthemic rock song, is another standout track.

Album of the Year is due in stores June 3.

Source: CVDB
© 1995-2001,2011-2012 Stefan Negele