Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Mr. Bungle

Released 1991 on Warner Brothers
Reviewed by Usiim Caan, 20/10/2001ce

If you are scared of the circus and clowns stay away from this album!
That being said, this is an album that drags you through a carnival full of terror. The rhythms change ever few seconds, as if Mr. Bungle has no attention span whatsoever.
The music is heavy and the vocals are usually screamed. Beneath all this there is a songwriting craft and an unusual arranging style that sets Mr. Bungle apart from anyone else.
Quote UnQuote starts this album. There are voices and shattering of glass. That's a good start to one of the scariest albums I've ever heard. From there Mr. Bungle go into hard rock, Zappaesque singing and even jazz.
Squeeze Me Macaroni explodes with almost too much funk. When reading the lyrics one realizes that this song is all about food and sex and the possible real and surreal combinations that can come from this. The song climaxes in the middle with heavy guitar lines and screaming. This anger turns into a calm voice and a wah wah guitar. Almost effortlessly Mr. Bungle return to the wild funk of the begining.
Carousel is the song that will give you the most nightmares. The begining guitar riff sounds like a Danny Elfman film soundtrack part. Then a voice comes in and says, "Hurry hurry, step right up!" From then on you know you're in trouble. This all somes to a point where the singer even starts vomiting from all the sounds. The listener might do the same. Everything falls apart as insane clowns laugh and wheeze.
Stubb a Dubb sounds like it will be the moving cirus ballad on the album. Not a chance. It turns into an insane tilt-a-whirl of sound, then into a heavy hardcore riff. Out of nowhere Saxaphones appear and a hypnotic riff comes out of nowhere. Mike Patton says" If you can hear me, don't throw up."
My Ass is On Fire is probably the heaviest and most queesy song on here. Both heavy and squeely vocals dominate this song.
The Girls of Porn is a masterbatory fantasy song. The music sounds like porn music and even has a sample from a porn film.
The best song on the album is also the last. Dead Goon opens like some of the others. This time it has the same bouncy ciruc riff and a voice which sounds like a deranged clown singing. The song changes midstream into a funk jazz piece! Then it changes right back into offkilter cirus music.
There is something magical about this album. It would be easy people to dismiss it and say that Mr. Bungle are immature and too show offy. Then again, this is an album that's sure to help you come to grips with your dark side. The power and complexity of this music can't be denied though. This album is fun and entertaining. It's sure to scare unwanted people away. Just in time for Haloween too!

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