By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
No more Faith
Faith No More scored a modest hit in 1990 with the single-video "Epic" off 1989's The Real Thing, ascending to the top of the pop heap around the same time the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fishbone, Living Colour, Jane's Addiction, and a handful of other pop-metal-jazz-punk-funk-etc. bands convinced the burgeoning alternative scene that perhaps Rush was a worthy influence after all. The lyrics were re-written Stones for a teenaged audience ("You want it all but you can't have it" and "It's in your face but you can't grab it"); the music was warmed-over disco-rap set to metal set to P-Funk; the vocals were whiny and more nasal than Jimmy Durante. And the result was a surprise hit on Top 40 radio, though nothing else on the album lived up to its promise (or was that a threat?).
Two years later, Faith No More had already been forgotten, their follow-up Angel Dust failing even to go gold in the States (by comparison, The Real Thing sold more than two million copies). And now comes King for a Day/Fool for a Lifetime, which sounds oddly small-time--the songwriting surprisingly weak, the singing ridiculously annoying again (Mike Patton sounds like "Saturday Night Live" regular Adam Sandler), the fusion of genres blandly done, the lyrics inanely strung together.
Instead of coming off as an experiment in genre-shifting, Faith No More seems to mix and match styles so often because it possesses no identity of its own. Patton's own Mr. Bungle--a side project that's filled with graphic porn sound bites and we're-so-shocking lyrics--at least has a sense of humor about its lack of talent, but Faith No More couldn't swing if it had a swing set, so dull and awkward are these boys at giving up the funk. Around these parts, this kind of dreck gets a Thursday night gig at Trees. In L.A., it gets signed to Warner Bros. and keeps putting out albums that grow more tiresome with each successive go-round. But, as Patton reminds, "Shit lives forever/We'll retire with a turd on our lips." Bon appetit.
Faith No More performs May 1 at the Bomb Factory. Steel Pole Bathtub opens.