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  • Writer's pictureFaith No More Followers

NME | June 1992

Keith Cameron 

THE ENGLISH may have invented cynicism but, as with everything else, America has taken the concept and blown it out of all proportion. You want proof? Look at the election campaign, where Bush and Clinton have been usurped by an anti-politician boasting that he has "no policies . Or look at Faith No More, where an ill-matched band of misfits crank out blasphemous takes on Metal, funk, disco, Country, jazz . . . you name the generic sacred cow, hell, Faith No More have used and abused it for their own dubious ends. 'We Care A Lot'? Sure they do . . .

And listen to 'Angel Dust', FNM's most outrageous grubby-faced smirk at the outside world yet. It's safe to say this is not the album their bank manager must have been . gleefully anticipating after 'The Real Thing', 'Epic' and a certifiable touring schedule had broken the band on to the MTV-sponsored popcorn circuit. Short on leadweighted, riffed-up chant-alongs and bursting with manic, nay, schizophrenic musical abandon, this is that most dangerous of items - the album we always-wanted-to-make album. In other words it's self-indulgent, messy, frequently incoherent and no doubt loses a lot in translation out of FNM's private domain. It's incredible, then, that 'Angel Dust' is as very good as it very often is. Expect the unexpected and you'll breeze it The curtain-raising 'Land Of Sunshine', with its symphonic strut and Roddy Bottum's garish keyboard trills, is pomp-rock as pedalled by a bunch of scornful, snotty kids. Tellingly, evil laughter buttresses the track and, as with the bulk of what follows, it's clear that Mike Patton has cemented his place in this most unforgiving of gangs by adding an impressive repertoire of voices to his original hack Metal whine. Clapped out crooner, hillbilly rasp, the odd basso profundo . . . the freaked-out geek skatekid's become a one-man karaoke machine indeed, 'RV's cocktail slouch could almost be a cruel Tom Waits parody-and this new depth to the vox manual goes a long way in explaining 'Angel Dust's compulsive flair.

As 'Caffeine' and 'Malpractice' demonstrate, Faith No More can still crunch metal on to bone as horribly as anyone who chooses to disagree. Yet this is rock with vomit stains down its front and 'Angel Dust' really buzzes when FNM marry their sharp pop nous to the good ol' kitchen sink recording technique. 'Mid-life Crisis' is an itchy toed groover, built from a sample of Simon & Garfunkel's 'Cecilia', while 'Everything's Ruined' advances on a relentless bass keyboard momentum, via Jim Martin's cool axe solo, to the song's resigned, satisfying denouement.

'Be Aggressive', though, is the hysterical masterstroke, a brilliant scratch-funk celebration of cock-sucking" You're the master and I'll take it on my knees/ Ejaculation, tribulation/I swallow, I swallow, / SWALLOW!!!" that has a bunch of school-kids rapping out the chorus. Yup, Faith No More in up front pro-gay sex statement shocker!

Just to settle once and for all that these cynical bastards can apparently do the lot, 'Angel Dust' closes with a perfectly respectful rendering of John Barry's 'Midnight Cowboy'. Laugh? You've got to, really. Faith No More don't care at all.

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