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Mr. Bungle - Mr. Bungle CD (album) cover


Mr. Bungle



3.93 | 165 ratings

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5 stars As Frank Zappa himself once said, Does comedy belong in music. Well, he didn't say it in as many words, but basically Zaphead asked the age-old question the Avant-Garde fringe has been asking the elite of Fine Art: must you incessantly take yourselves 'so' seriously? That's the question this Northern California group repositioned with their classic 1991 debut, aptly-titled Mr. Bungle. It also didn't hurt that the group had the addition of avant-maniac vocalist Mike Patton, fresh off of Faith No More's recent success, Mr. Bungle secured an odd recording contract with Warner Bros. and unleashed this delightfully bizarre cornucopia of madness upon the world. Some liken them to an Avant-Garde messiah, others say they've only released sewage trapped in a jewel case; but whether you love or hate Mr. Bungle (and you will either love them or hate them, trust me), one cannot deny the sheer mammoth talent of the musicianship and tight cohesion of the group.

At first glance, tracks like 'Quote, Unquote' (originally titled 'Travolta' until threats of a lawsuit from the actor forced them to retitled it after an unauthorized biography of said actor), 'Slowly Growing Deaf' or 'Dead Goons' indeed come off as trite little pawn-shop knockoffs of their respective parent genres, and certainly in the hands of lesser musician's would become noise; but with Bungle everything comes of as painfully deliberate. From the screams during the middle of 'Squeeze me Macaroni', or the hilariously debauched filth of 'the Girls of Porn' (which feature soundbites from an adult-film featuring a character named Mr. Bungle), Mike Patton & co. deliver earnest spaz-rock. Vocalist Mike Patton proves why he is the best singer in Rock, as he shifts from country crooner to Frank Sinatra (sinfully Sin-Atra) without missing a beat. Or the Deranged Death-Metal growls or the doo-wop homage, heck even tribal music is within the reach of this maniac. Even though his delivery tends to be Schmaltzy, you can't deny how groundbreaking AND fun this music is.

The rest of the band tends to be more of a background fixture, with Guitarist Trey Spruance being the only other member that brings the kind of variety and subtly to match Patton's star power. Producer John Zorn manages to keep the group cohesive (in a relative sense as everything with Bungle is), and the increased budget that a Major Label provides makes this a big step up from their muddy-sounding demo tapes. All in all, if you love this kind of music, you know it, and if you don't, please don't start here as you will be frightened and never return. Rating: A+

hasheten | 5/5 |


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