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Fairly Insane. But good? That's a different story. - 55%

caspian, July 18th, 2006

Lots has been said about this band. It's mentioned as an influence from everyone from Korn to Dillinger Escape Plan to Hoobastank (?!), there's a ton of glowing reviews all other the web, basically, it's praised to the skies everywhere for being so unique and great. While I am not denying it's uniqueness (nothing else sounds like this At all), it's not all that cohesive and for the most part, a disjointed collection of jazz/metal riffs mixed up with Mike Patton's vocals, which consist mostly of strange noises.

There's a fair bit of variety in these songs, but hearing one basically means you've heard them all. Quote Unquote moves wildly between metal riffing and some carnival-jazz type thing. Squeeze Me Macaroni is full of some strange funk stuff, some super fast vocals, while My Ass is on Fire is the heaviest (and best) song on the album, full of heavy riffs, a lot in odd timing. It's also the most coherent song on the album, because it's happy to stay heavy, and there aren't 5 changes of mood throughout.. Mr Bungle are indeed a surprising and unpredictable band, but the problem is, they're nothing but unpredictable. Why not have a few straight up songs? It would make the rest sound weirder.

One thing that's undeniable though, is that there are some great musicians here. THe guitars play some dissonant and very weird chords, the drums switch between styles seemlessly, and the bass is very loud in the mix and fairly funky. Patton is a great vocalist, but again, like the rest of the band, he's too weird in this album. His lyrics are fairly smart, but his all over the place vocals get annoying very, very fast.

All in all, this is a very, very weird album, a furious mix of different styles forced together. But there's a lack of coherence, and most of the time songwriting gets sacrificed for general weirdness. Who knows, maybe their later stuff fits together a bit better, but for this album, it sounds like a band being weird just for the sake of being weird.