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Mr. Bungle - California

1999 Warner Bros Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-07-08

Another four years, and 5/6 of the original band provide us with a little musical insight into their perception of that western US mecca we all call California. It's probably pretty safe to say that no one outside of the band themselves had any ideas as to what direction would be taken here, Disco Volante being so incredibly different from the first album, and within 3 seconds, you know that the past is gone. As I played the first minute of Vanity Fair, I tried to think back to the first time I heard Disco, and the absolute horror I went through during the first minute of that album as well. "What have they done?" I screamed, dreading that this new direction had mellowed out these guys. Fear not, California being more demented than anything before, if not for the simple fact that 95% is so damn accurate, I almost feel as though I'm living the last 3 decades along the coastline. Much like the hatred that shimmers below that golden surface in LA, California contains the overcoat of a poppy little surf album, but dig a little deeper, and you hear the pain of the rat race, the agony of the aging actress, the widening girth of the surf star. Life is dark, and according to Mr Bungle, California contains the Lion's Share of humanity's darkness. What I love here is that one could listen to songs such as None of them... and think, wow, my grandparents could get into this! But read the lyrics... dude. It's too early to tell what profound effect this will have on my life, but the melodies here are already hooked in, reminding me of the slower parts of another incredible California album, Faith no More's King for Day... I won't rate this just yet, but I can recommend this to those that have a taste for the bizarre. Warning: May contain trace amounts of heavy metal within.