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Mr. Bungle - California CD (album) cover

CALIFORNIA

Mr. Bungle

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.02 | 136 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

FruMp
Prog Reviewer
3 stars An interesting concept but still MR. BUNGLE's weakest effort.

California (which was to be called Californication but after a long running feud with the Red Hot Chili Peppers they allegedly stole the name) shows a very tame Bungle, reminiscent of 60's surf rock and beach boys type music, it's very stylish and done very well (Guitarist Trey Spruance spent a year mastering it on analog tape) it does convey images of sipping cocktails on a beach but on the whole it isn't nearly as good as the other 2 bungle full lengths and doesn't contain enough good songs to make it a great album.

That said the album does contain some very good songs, None of them knew they were robots is a fantastic song, reminiscent of Dick Dale and showing flashes of Bungles experimental side as well. Air conditioned nightmare is another fantastic song showing some beach boys moments and featuring an amazing chorus with some great tremolo picked surf guitar. 'Ars Moriendi' is the best song on the album, and is something of a throwback to 'Desert search for techno Allah' from their previous album Disco Volante, it features the same middle eastern theme with elements of techno and middle eastern instrumentation, a fantastic song and as I said before easily the best on the album.

The instrumentation on this album is fairly bland for a Bungle album but guitarist Trey Spruance provides some amazing moments with his surf guitar and general versatility and originality, the miscellaneous studio musicians provide most of the other highlights and considering how many of them there are it's something of a shame that they are so under-utilized.

Overall California is a decent and worthwhile album with a handful of great songs worth 3.5 stars (rounded down) but it's a big letdown (or should I say comedown?) compared to the schizophrenic madness of MR. BUNGLES other 2 albums and a lot of the songs are fairly boring and lacklustre. I'd recommend this to anyone who finds early Bungle a bit intimidating and impenetrable, or even anyone into 60's music and surf rock - otherwise I'd say it's better off sticking to Bungle's earlier works.

FruMp | 3/5 |

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