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  • Writer's pictureFaith No More Followers

NME | March 1995

SHIT SANDWICH

FAITH NO MORE

King For A Day... Fool For A Lifetime (London/All formats)

Ted Kessler


IMAGINE, FRIENDS, that you are Mike Patton or Roddy Bottum. It is 18 months since you last played live, nearly three years since your last album, the well crafted though strained 'Angel Dust'. You've made a new record at last, you've shed your group's least appealing feature (some accolade in FNM!), irksome guitarist Big Jim Martin, but still you can't get it up for the group.

You'd rather, if you're Mike, be hanging out with your new missus - you always were the hardest to pin down to PNM anyway and now it really is a labour of love.

If you're Roddy, well, you were way out there when the rest of the group made 'King', strung out, tied up and only making the barest contribution, so you don't feel that. much of an attachment to Faith No More at the moment, you'd rather be doing things with your other group, Star 69. Which must be weird because it was your way with an askew tune that blasted FNM out past their more doughy contemporaries in the first place. And now they're just a group you're probably only going to be playing with.

So what rose-tinted specs must you don each morn to find purpose in your work when you're as jaded as the two core members of Faith No More? How close to extinction must you be before actually realising that hauling a record as lame and half-arsed as 'King' around the world is the final act you perform as a group? For there's no escaping the stench of last-gasp lucre and contractual obligations that hangs over FNM's fifth album.

This is a nasty, vitriolic record made by angry men - but angry primarily at themselves. Angry at themselves for having to make another record with each other, angry at the way they've turned what once made them stand out in dramatic relief from the stodge of the likes of Living Colour into cliché. On much of 'King' they merely sound like a parody of themselves.

You know this because a couple of times they pull their finger out and remind us of the lateral FNM thinking that made them so ace (remember how threatening they made The Commodores' 'Easy' sound?). 'Evidence' is an eerie, laid-back piano motif that sounds like the kind of thing serial killers unwind with at the end of a long day. "| didn't feel a thing/You didn't mean a thing," moans Patton through the chorus, softly reminding you why you're glad you're not his neighbour.

And on the closing 'Just A Man' they broaden the scope even further to embrace a huge soul sound with sweeping strings and chunky backing vocals. Sure, close your eyes and you're involved in one of Karl Wallinger's nightmares, but that's the kind of place FNM work best: terrorising the mainstream.

These slackers do not sustain this level of imagination throughout, unfortunately opting to merely pound away at a trashy, operatic approximation of their former metal glories. 'Ugly In The Morning' and 'Cuckoo For Caca' steam eyes shut, head down in that direction while the first single, 'Digging The Grave', is an ugly, flailing squall that garbles nothing very loudly. And let's be honest Mr Billy Gould, even you must be sick of those super-fast, twiddly bass contortions now.

Ultimately, 'King For A Day...' is the sound of a group shrugging and asking, grumpily, "Will this do?". They're not sure why they've made it or what you're supposed to do with it, but, hey, it's finished now: wanna buy it? The only justice to be had for this flagrant waste of talent is when imagining how bored they're going to be with these songs after six months on the road. Heh heh heh.



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