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Mr. Bungle > Mr. Bungle > Reviews > Annable Courts
Mr. Bungle - Mr. Bungle

Mixture between nightmare and cartoon - 82%

Annable Courts, November 22nd, 2022

The overt satire in the music finds meaning from being blended into the unsettling quality of a darker atmosphere. Crazy fare metal on its own would've run out of fuel fast, and plenty of that marriage between dark and bizarre can be found on the first two tracks, then again on 'My ass is on fire'. At the end of that track: the vociferated line "Redundant" is such a token of what this whole enterprise essentially is: parody, but of a peculiar kind. That part turns to a horror show of cacophony, so it's like...a mixture between a nightmare and a cartoon. Then there's that outright eerie section on the track (simply named) 'Egg', as the vocalist sings "there's no place like home" in an incrementally more aggravated tone, putting a disturbing twist on the famous quote from 'The wizard of Oz'.

Overall this leans a lot more towards being a show than being prog. It's more of a big, loud, terribly sophisticated joke with showmanship and musicianship coming together like Broadway theater, and the "progressive" label would probably be out of place here, like the music is lost on the term. This is a metal-hybrid play, a big stage with clowns and other wacky but sharp professional performers, inviting itself into your headphones. 'Carousel' goes from that Monkey Island-styled pirate theme with the "chakkah chakkah" mute-strum mute-strum, wind instruments over the top, then transitions into heavy angst and then straight into some surf guitar section; a bit later, it's straight up carousel music, then a bit of creepy King Crimson clean guitar picking, then back to the main theme. Up and down and up and down.

There's a real heaviness and metal groove to this record too, and although the music is funny in nature there's some serious composition going on.

The song-writing can be utterly focused, like music found on the great albums with full, authentic themes that have that distinct original feel, with unique chord progressions (first two songs, 'My ass', or some of the deeper darker parts here and there). Then, there's your 'Squeeze me macaroni' tracks... these turn into more of an intentionally clunky, happier display of musicianship and vocal tricks over-flooding the tracks. Which is understandable given the environment here, but it does push the intensity back a few levels as we move along with the band from their weightier atmospheres to now this zany Brazilian Carnaval, highly colorful and in full daylight with its jazzy mood. Good variation, one could say.

No introduction is needed for Mike Patton. You've all heard of 'Faith no Moore', among his countless projects. It's obvious the sort of range and presence his charismatic vocals bring - but although being silly was a prerequisite on such a record they can be self-indulgent, too flamboyant even for this. It's difficult to say what the right balance should be when the project is extroversion itself, but the voice might get a bit on the irritant side of the listener every now and then. This very well could've been just a step away from greatness but decided the fun was bigger than the ambition.