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Now in our ninth calendar year!
PCR #437 á(Vol. 9, No. 32) This edition is for the week of August 4--10, 2008.

"Pineapple Express" áby Mike Smith
The Chattaway -- A Florida Phenomenon! áby William Moriaty
Kiddie Matinee Memories ľ Part 1 áby ED Tucker
VHS Grindhouse: The Vampire's Coffin (1958) áby Andy Lalino
Mr. Bungle: California áby Bobby Tyler & Jake Tipton
I'll Take 'Trivia, TV and TV Trivia' For A Thousand, Please, Alex áby Lisa Ciurro
From Green & Gold To Green & White .... Nfl: No Fun League .... King James To Europe? .... Madden 09 Releases .... Favre Sets Another Record Without Playing .... Rays On Fire áby Chris Munger
Really, This Song Sucks! .... Movie Notes .... Passing On .... Viva Las Vegas! .... Welcome Aboard .... And The Oscar For 1980 Should Have Gone To... áby Mike Smith
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Bobby & Jake's Music Emporium

Mr. Bungle: California

Well... our first first review for Crazed Fanboy. Scary! Hopefully the first of many music reviews that we contribute, we've decided to start with an album pretty close to our hearts and ears: California, by experimental/metal/[genre] band Mr. Bungle. Longtime fans of the band and their ringleader, rock legend Mike Patton, it seems suiting to choose their most mature and evolved work for our inaugural review. So nerves and all aside, let's get the ball rolling!

Throughout their 15-year career, Mr. Bungle produced only 3 full studio albums, and 4 early demo tapes. Noted early for their rapid-fire genre defiance and experimental metal pulse, they gained a following among those in the musical know. Once Mike Patton left his most famous band, Faith No More, he began to focus completely on his side project, lending his unique tastes, vocals, and composition to an already talented line-up. The final result before the inevitable break-up was California, an album that by and far blows away their older works.

The most pointed edge of the album is its juxtaposition of extremes--all at once blending obtuse lyrics with haunting melody, and more genre shifts than you can shake a stick at. More composed and tighter than their other albums, California is definitely more accessible than their other work, but still requires multiple listens to grasp the full complexity of it all. Mike Patton has been known to profess his love of words, disdaining the actual meaning and writing lyrics based more on their sound in conjunction with the music. Most of the vocal effects on the album are done by Patton himself, often with overlayed dubs and multiple complex harmonies. The results are, at times, profoundly beautiful and powerful--and even when it's going for straight-up rushes, the band produces songs that are catchy for reasons you can't even understand. A standout track, Ars Moriendi, starts out as an addictive Gypsy jaunt, but switches every which way and never resting on its laurels. The song is a 4-minute adrenalin rush, hard enough for metalheads but bizarre enough for any Zappa fans who wander by. On the other end of the spectrum, Retrovertigo is a musically bare but powerful adventure, a real showcase of what the group can do when they settle into a groove, however rare times like this may be. The vocally-driven track, The Air-Conditioned Nightmare, lulls you into a nice air-conditioned surf-rock/doo-wop song only to be transformed into a nightmare complete with space-rock keyboard effects. It's not just all about the music, though. The lyrics in The Air-Conditioned Nightmare describe someone who can no longer deal with the materialistic world (the Air-Conditioned world if you will) and sinks into a depression. Mike Patton has said before that a lot of his songs' lyrics are usually just put together because they sound good with not a lot of attention towards the meaning behind them. The song Vanity Affair could be an example of this. However, I refuse to believe that there's no message behind those lyrics. I've heard different interpretations, and I've come to the realization that this ambiguous tune will be different for each listener.

With that, I leave you to sample the album on your own accord. A classic album that should be a staple in everybody's collection. Both of us treasure this album. After listening to this, we both matured musically.

The Air Conditioned Nightmare:
Ars Moriendi:

Bob's rating - 5 out of 5
Jake's rating - 5 out of 5

"Music Emporium" is ©2008 by Bobby Tyler & Jake Tipton.   All graphics this page, except where otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.