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Mr. Bungle - California CD (album) cover


Mr. Bungle



4.11 | 211 ratings

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5 stars After listening to this album for 5 years, I can safely say that it most definitely a masterpiece of experimental/progressive rock. It took me a year to fully appreciate as when I first listened to this, I was a huge metalhead. But something about Mr Bungle clicked with me, and I definitely feel it changed my life. Lets go down the cliched route of a track-by-track review. It's easy to follow so why the hell not...

Sweet Charity.

Before hearing this, I had already become acclimatized with songs like Platypus and Squeeze Me Macaroni, so when this kicked off I thought 'hang on, it's a bit soft!'. I felt kinda disappointed and bored so i skipped to the next track, None Of Them Knew They Were Robots. Naturally I fell in love with this song instantly as it is more like your typical Bungle craziness. Feeling slightly guilty for dismissing Sweet Charity so quickly, I thought, why not give it another go, this time with an open mind. Oooh... why doesn't this sound pretty! There's seagulls, whistling and pretty slide-guitars oh and some lovely violins, how nice! Then the chorus kicks in... SWEET CHARUH-TAYYYY bom ba da HAAAH etc... YESSS I'm hooked instantly. I find myself in a world of sun, sand and cocktails until..........

None of Them Knew They Were Robots.

........POOF. Sunshine and sambuca no more. Instead, a jagged landscape of evil clowns, haunted merry-go-rounds and those weird mirror things. A real cracker melting such styles as swing, rockabilly and jazz, NOTKTWR really crams everything possible inside 6 schizophrenic minutes. You have saxophones and horns in between odd surf guitar licks, demented swing drums and Patton crrooning, yelping and screaming all in the blink of an eye. You'll find yourself wearing a murderous grin 2 minutes in and if you're like me, imitating Patton's crazy HAR-HIP HAR-HIP J-J-J-JOE while slapping your thighs maniacally. A song that fans of old Bungle will appreciate.


What's this? A normal sounding Mr Bungle song? Never! No weird cartoon noises or funky slap-bass? Yet instead we're given a straight-laced pop ballad. I say this as if it's a bad thing. It really isn't.... Retrovertigo contains possibly Mike Patton's most gorgeous vocal performance ever. Just listen to that chorus, you will realise that the guy can really sing! And sing to the heavens too! It gets real crunchy at the end when the guitars and drums kick in for the last chorus finale. If you have a heart in there, this will take your breath away. Well done Trevor Dunn for writing such a brilliant pop song, why it didn't make number 1 I will never know.....

The Air-Conditioned Nightmare.

This is the first song I ever heard by Mr Bungle, and still is a favourite of mine. How can anyone not love this song??? It has everything you could possibly want to hear in just under 4 minutes. A steaming cauldron of surf rock, metal, doo-wop and bats testicles... it makes you wonder, how can anyone write music like this? Oh, and if you think it sounds awesome on CD, wait til you hear it live. Yes. It's even better. Don't be surprised if you have BA BA BA BA stuck in your head for days. Bungle can sure compose the catchiest tunes since Barbie Girl. Go on. Give it a try!

Ars Moriendi.

What happened when Slayer got into a fight with a Hungarian klezmer band? Thats right. This did. Again, another song that displays Mr Bungle's trademark genre-blending. We have accordions, speed metal guitars, polka drums, and some odd middle-eastern instrumentation with a sprinkling of techno. How can this be possible.. you ask yourself as you read this.. well just you wait and see. Whats great is that Bungle can blend such unassuming and opposing styles without ever sounding contrived or cliched. Another classic dose of insanity.

Pink Cigarette.

There is not one other song on this earth which I hold so dear to my heart. I dare not even justify it by describing it. You need to listen with an open mind and hopefully fall in love the way I did. Again, Mr Bungle have crafted a perfect pop song, as memorable as your first kiss, and just as precious. If your heart doesn't melt by time Patton utters the words ' cigarette...' then I'm afraid you don't have a heart. Pure and simple.

Golem II: The Bionic Vapour Boy.

Back to the Bungle everyone knows. Brimming with bleeps and bloops, disco beats, robotic vocal effects and evil glockenspiels, it's impossible not to enjoy yourself as you go through the songs many twists and turns. Ending with a spooky, distant piano melody, Golem II is the true meaning of odd. I love it!

The Holy Filament.

Its hard for me to believe now, but it took me almost a year to appreciate this song. I would always skip straight to Vanity Fair and not really give it the time of day. I finally gave it a chance, and just like Sweet Charity did, it wormed its way under my skin and stayed there. Mike Patton's harmonies are truly astounding on this one. I would have to describe it as a sort of psychedelic/ambient style. Their are lovely violins, piano melodies and strange noises. The only way to fully understand is simply to listen to it and make your own judgement. In a word: beautiful.

Vanity Fair.

Easily the most uplifting track on California. Featuring a doo-wop style, some sexual saxophones and a FLAWLESS performance by King Patton himself, it's an instant winner. Along with Retrovertigo, this is Patton's best vocals by a country mile. Vanity Fair features lyricss about self-castration, but considering other Bungle songs are themed on food-porn, eggs and child-abuse, it's not surprising that they chose song an odd topic to write about. But hey, after all, this is Mr Bungle, so onto the finale..............

Goodbye Sober Day.

What a way to end a perfect album! A tour-de-force of jazz trumpets, crunching metal guitar, futuristic synths before Mike Patton rips your head off with CHAKCHAKCHAKCHAKACHAKA. By the very last seconds of cacophony that end California, you will most likely be left completely astounded and wonder what the hell you've been doing for the past hour.

Once the bug bites it will never let go. An essential album for EVERY music fans collection. Well worth any amount of money you happen to spend after reading this. Oh, you WILL buy it. Don't think you won't. I will come find you otherwise.....

rustytheginge | 5/5 |


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