Review

Warner Bros. figured that lightning could strike twice at a time when oodles of (most horribly bad) funk-metal acts were following in Faith No More's and Red Hot Chili Peppers' footsteps. In response, the former recorded and released the bizarro masterpiece Angel Dust. Mike Patton's work in Mr. Bungle proved just how strange and inspired he could get given the opportunity; now, in his more famous act, nothing was ignored. "Land of Sunshine" starts things off in a vein similar to The Real Thing, but Patton's vocal role-playing is smarter and more accomplished, with the lyrics trashing a smug bastard with pure inspired mockery. From there, Angel Dust mixes the meta-metal of earlier days with the expected puree of other influences, including a cinematic sense of atmosphere. The album ends with a cover of John Barry's "Midnight Cowboy," which suits the mood perfectly, but the stretched-out, tense moments on "Caffeine" and the soaring charge of "Everything's Ruined" make for other good examples. Even a Kronos Quartet sample crops up on the frazzled sprawl of "Malpractice." Other sampling and studio treatments come to the fore throughout, adding quirks like the distorted voices on "Smaller and Smaller." The band's sense of humor crops up frequently -- there's the hilarious portrayal of prepubescent angst on "Kindergarten," made all the more entertaining by the music's straightforward approach, or the beyond-stereotypical white trash cornpone narration of "RV," all while the music breezily swings along. Patton's voice is stronger and downright smooth at many points throughout, the musicians collectively still know their stuff, and the result is twisted entertainment at its finest. ~ Ned Raggett, Rovi

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