(Planet Me)
Thursday, May 07, 2015
FAITH NO MORE Sol Invictus

You can count on the fingers of one hand the bands who've made 'reunion' albums that sound as good as anything they've done before. Suede. Um, after that it gets kinda tricky.... not bad, just different, and sometimes growing in slightly different directions from us. Echo & The Bunnymen's slow slide into irrelevance is, after all, a lesson to be learnt in how to avoid growing old disgracefully. The risk is you can blow it. You can come back with a lacklusture or mediocre record, If you don't come back with a record that stands up to the rest, it's the end. It's a risky game. The material has to be great. Not just good. It has to match up with then, and in some way, to mark the progression since then. I'm interested in artists growing older, finding their position in the world, seeing where they are now, and not just where they once were, but also how they sit in relation to history : in short, I'm growing older, and my relation to the rest of the world is changing. I want the music I lover to be relevant to me now, and to honour the promise of the past. It's a tall order. Few bands try. Even fewer succeed.

In short, don't worry. Faith No More have got this. They've done their best album in two decades.

A powerful, articulate, and briliant tour-de-farce that stands up easily to the best of their original life. The bands lineup Mike Patton and Bordin, Roddy Bottum, Billy Gould and John Hudson on guitar step into their own, with six years on the road as a nostalgia act to hone and refine their live chops. They sound like the best of all things – like the Faith No More of 1992 carried on and lost none of their spark. Songs like “Seperation Anxiety” are the kind of claustrophobic, diverse godawful beautiful racket that made me love them then and now. There's a wonderful moment in most classic Faith No More songs, which sounds like a room growing ever closer in on you, where all the instruments combine to create a sense of enclosure, with no breathing space inside the sound, and it is here – on “Seperation Anxiety” specifically, but also “Superhero” - that the band show clearly, and without the slightest hesitation, that Faith No More in 2015 are as promising as they were in 1992, and whilst time may have changed our position in the world – as a band, as fans, as people - some things remain eternal and immortal, for me at least, my quest to understand the world, to find my place, and then to maintain it in an everchanging sea, and in the midst of it, are Faith No More, who haven't made a bad record yet, and in the case of “Sol Invictus” something that may very well be the second best record they've ever made. (Considering the best album they've made sits in the Top Ten Records I've Ever, EVER Heard, take that as a compliment.)

It starts slowly, unlike every other Faith No More album, with an ascending piano, and a curled vocal of promise – and then, BAM, it explodes. “Sol Invictus” translates as 'Unconquered Sun' – and yes, for me, this album is a world where the band are more than the sum of their parts, and one where the promise of future greatness is fulfilled. In retrospect, some comeback albums, Jane's Addiction's and The Pixies in particular, have aged poorly, and the shock of the new quickly becomes pale when the wrapping is removed, and at the heart of the new material is without substance. But this? This stands equal to their brief and majestic glory period, when they birthed the stunning “Angel Dust” and the under-rated “King For A Day”. You are an angel heading for a land of sunshine... and all hail the unconquered sun.

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