Guitar World April 1995
Review of King For A Day ... Fool For A Lifetime
Rating: Three Stars
Faith No More's 1989 album The Real Thing went multi-platinum several years before anyone thought smart, substantial heavy rock music could sell records. The subsequent commercial stiff of the 1992 followup Angel Dust, which provided a more difficult but in many ways more rewarding listening experience, proved that a band can't survive on integrity alone; things like career momentum and audience maintenance must also be considered. Or to put it another way, just because Guns N' Roses can get away with releasing albums every three years doesn't mean anyone else can.
On King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime, Faith No More boasts a new guitarists (Trey Spruancle, whos is distinguished from his predecessor, Jim Martin, by a warmer tone and not much else,) but features the same nervous, claustrophobic, unpredictable approach to songwriting and arranging. The band, true to form, still seems to be wrestling with its own musical personality. Is it a floor wax or a dessert topping? Are they parody-prone interpreters of r&b ("Star A.D.") and gospel ("Just a Man"), art-thrash hybridists ("Get Out") or noize experimentalists ("Cuckoo For Caca," "Ugly In The Morning")? When Mike Patton sings with cartoonish affectations over otherwise earnest pieces of music, as he does on "Take This Bottle", is the listener supposed to take it seriously?
This is a crucial moment for Faith No More, and although King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime is joyously confounding, it ultimately raises more questions than it answers about the band's artistic agenda. Whether record buyers remain interested enough to ask those questions will determine its commercial fate.
Thanks to Jamie Dirom.