Picks and Pans Review: Angel Dust
It isn't often that a group's greatest asset is also its undoing. But that's the case with this incorrigible rock quintet from San Francisco, which had a slow-building, left-field Top 10 hit with "Epic" in 1990. FNM wields daring, unbridled energy, impressive creativity and, rare for rock, a healthy sense of the absurd. But they have no discipline or discretion, so their songs end up effusively self-indulgent.
This tendency is most evident on their fourth album, which blazes a bumpy path between brilliance and bombast. Terrific tracks like the obdurate "Caffeine" or the lavishly arranged "Everything's Ruined" can be followed by a stinker like the messy metal lampoon of "Jizzlobber."
Mike Patton is the perfect singer for such a schizophrenic band. His voice can go from stirringly muscular to utterly scabrous. The scary thing is that Faith No More is Patton's more commercial outlet. When he feels really screwy, he records with his other band, the truly bizarre Mr. Bungle.
You have to love a band that ends its album with an instrumental cover of the theme from Midnight Cowboy, crashing together cheesy lounge music and overblown '70s-style rock. At least FNM leaves 'em laughing. (Slash/Reprise)