“Land of Sunshine” opens the disc with a sound of familiarity . . . guitars grind over a funked out rhythm section while the keyboards create a sonic backdrop. This song acts like a bridge between The Real Thing and Angel Dust. Mike Patton’s vocal acrobatics tell us that he was holding back (or being held back) on the last recording. “Caffeine” kicks in a bit heavier than the lead track, just to make it official that things have changed for good. Note Patton’s vocals take on a texture unlike anything he had done to this point. The first single, “Midlife Crisis” has become a classic FNM song. It has everything you need. Great vocal performance, awesome drum work, a groovin’ bass, classic understated guitar work, and some intense keyboard / programming at the 2:22 mark. Though all of the songs have that Faith No More sound, there’s something just dark about the tones. It’s almost as if the band made a conscious decision to do something that would raise eye brows and be less accessible. Almost like that instant fame didn’t sit well with them and they were going to let the world know about it.
“Smaller and Smaller” is a dark and heavy tune, dynamic in composition, but rooted in a primal groove. Another great vocal performance. “Everything’s Ruined” bounces effortlessly from light to dark shades. Keyboard and bass heavy with great support from Jim Martin’s guitar work. “Malpractice” is a schizophrenic chaos-fest waiting to come unhinged, yet remaining held together when all looked lost.
One of the more surprising moments on Angel Dust is “Kindergarten”, a thoughtful and reminiscent journey through the innocence of adolescence. Personally, I thought that this song would have made a great video because of the vivid imagery that’s painted through the lyrics. Big bonus on this tune is the bass solo provided by Billy Gould. It’s got a little jazz vibe and adds a touch of class to an already flawless song.
“A Small Victory” is another keyboard laden track, which would become the second single, and also has a small touch of the sound that the band has worked to leave behind. Though a bit mellow at times, the musical dynamics work well in building tension, and Patton’s voice is filled with great nuance. “Crack Hitler” and “Jizzlobber” are two of the more brutal tunes on the album. Heavily rhythmic and diverse, they’re songs that are hard to sit still through, especially the latter track.
Honestly, I could go on for days describing every nifty little piece of music on the disc, but part of the fun is listening to it and discovering the little gems for yourself. Angel Dust is packed with hidden musical treasures. Tempo shifts, instrumental interchanges, vocal virtuosity, and all sorts of other production tricks make listening to this album similar to walking through The Metropolitan Museum of Art. If you do it once, you’ll inevitably miss something . . . and that something could be important. Classic album not to be missed. If you already own it, then you know what I mean. If you don’t own it, move your little mouse thingy down the screen and click one of the links and enhance your music collection with one of the most overlooked albums of all time. - Pope JTE
Buy here: Angel Dust