Tuesday, 26 October 2010



This is the fifth Faith No More studio record and the first without Jim Martin on guitar.  In his place came Trey Spruance from Mr Bungle and the results suggest that it was not a natural fit.  Indeed come time to tour the album he was gone being replaced by Dean Menta, a roadie.  A very good roadie but still a roadie.  Martin was always a very popular and large part of the group; indeed he was the non-bogus member of the band chosen to appear in Bill And Ted’s Bogus Journey to represent “The Faith No More Spiritual And Theological Centre”.  He was the heavy metal element of the band in more than just chops.  And now gone, things were no longer quite so heavy.

King For A Day…Fool For A Lifetime is not a bad album, its just a disjointed one.  Perhaps the band decided to just take one for the team because Angel Dust was plainly their masterpiece, their career defining album that was almost impossible to follow.  That said it is not as good as The Real Thing either.

I never actually bought or owned this album.  I bought all the singles even when I didn’t necessarily think they were very good but little else appealed about the band anymore.  In fact in a classic move of familiarity breeds contempt, the truth was that one of my best friends loving the band kind of stunk them up for me.

The album came out in March 1995.  At that time I was working at Texas Homecare in Clacton and pretty much spending all my cash (spare or otherwise) on records.  It was less than a year since Kurt Cobain killed himself which had kind of sunk the ship of grunge and alternative rock in general.  Another friend had actually bought the Bush album and things were looking doomed.  Indeed it is said that the death of Cobain weighed heavy on the recording of this album with Roddy Bottum being a friend of Courtney Love who herself was originally a singer for the band.

Bursting out the blocks King For A Day opens in strong fashion as “Get Out” gallops in frenetic fashion playing out like an update of “New Rose” albeit with only marginal difference to the first single “Digging The Grave”.  With that the pace takes a more measured stance with “Ricochet” as a looming presence grips proceedings as the prospects of the piece hang heavy in the air.

The genre hops begin early on this album as “Evidence” swoops in as the third track completely rearranging the mood of the piece and slashing expectations attached.  However once the culture shock has been consumed then exhumed “Evidence” is actually a very good Faith No More song.  Whereas similar tracks such as “Edge Of The World” and shameful “Easy” were once relegated to periphery, the positioning here in the order of a smoky jazz funk number is quite the revelation.

Things return metallic with thumping riffs of “The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies” with its loud quiet loud dynamics and vocal gymnastics resembling something of a queer verbal assault.  Yet again the hook lay more in Patton’s vocal yell than anything the music has to offer.

Then things turn weird.

“Star A.D.” is another funky track, heavy on horns and lounge keyboards taking things in a velvety direction that does not tend to rub in mud.  Exploration often begat explanation.  From perspective you could see it as some kind of David Lynch party track but ultimately it is just a bit too fat, bit too obvious.  There is a lot going but it’s hard to care a lot.

And on that note the juvenile “Cuckoo For Caca” drops in offering little more than a shit caked rework of “Jizzlobber” from past glories.  It is shit on many levels.  And after that arrives the Portuguese “Caralho Voador” with means “flying dick” in its mother tongue.  Even worse than this though is the manner in which it musically resembles “Pets” by Porno For Pyros.  Was the band really so redundant in ideas?

As the record lumbers into the second half the listener finds itself subjected to Faith No More-by-numbers in the form of “Ugly In The Morning” and “Digging The Grave”.  These aren’t bad tracks, just not career defining ones.  And both tracks had appeared on the lead single anyway, so there was nothing new and no surprises here by this stage.

From here the album ends in bloated fashion.  “Take This Bottle” opens sounding like the Guns N’ Roses version of “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” as Patton’s Cave-esqe growl coupled subtle slide guitar gives it a damaged swamp blues vibe.  Similarly “King For A Day” sails out in extended fashion again reminding of a mellow Perry Farrell work.  The longest track on the album by the end it inhabits epic proportions and gestures.  However the guitar sound never quite destroys, never quite nails.  There’s a lot of seduction and remorse attached to this moment.

Following up in almost reflective fashion is “What A Day” serving as the third short sharp blast of the album.  In mantra Patton sings “I should’ve killed it”, “I should’ve learned it” and “I should’ve notice it” in remorseful fashion.  Elsewhere within the words is the line “kill the body and the head will die” with is a direct life from Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas and clear reference to Hunter S. Thompson.  If only there was a bit more of his reckless abandon influencing proceedings.

With that the sense of remorse remains during the close out of the record as the chunky “The Last To Know” sails out closing the voyage before the huge sounding “Just A Man” ends the album with its regal Asian overtones and clear sense of being the last dance.  In conclusion it contains an Icarus reference coupled with a crazed spoken word section ahead of a lush gospel choir being brought on the scene.

This is tough album to endure.  There is an air of sacrifice attached with a real sense fragility and imperfection, of fear of failure turning into genuine failure.  It has its moments but so does everything else.

It stopped a gap.

Thesaurus moment: bork.

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