5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Peeping Tom (Audio CD)
Mike Patton has been pretty inconsistent these past couple of years. Let me recap; The period of decline, for me, began with Mit Gas by Tomahawk. It was pretty good and has some brilliant tracks but was no where near as good or consistent as the debut album. Delirium Cordia by Fantomas, the big 75min `soundtrack to a surgery disaster' was hit or miss. I mean, how often was it going to get a listen, really? Patton's collaboration with John Kaada was a bit too esoteric and formless and a bit forgettable. The General Patton & The X-Ecutioners was just crappy. Didn't like that one at all. Then came the big surprise; Suspended Animation by Fantomas. I was really anticipating this one and was excited when I got it because the cover art was so good; done by Yoshimoto Nara. It was possibly the worst one yet; just a recap of the first album but crammed with cartoonish samples. It's was uninspired, too schizophrenic and completely forgettable.
Therefore I was hesitant before getting Peeping Tom. Patton has been working on it for years, compiling respected guest musicians such as Dan The Automator, Kool Keith, Massive Attack, Rahzel, Amon Tobin and Norah Jones amongst others.
Hesitant I was indeed.
Stuck it in the player and I heard beats (as I was expecting with Dan The Automator on board) then Patton's smooth croon slid into the mix over a steady beat. Ahh, could be good this. The chorus to Five Seconds is a schizo Tomahawk-esque blast, with guitars whilst the verses are smooth beat oriented croons. This goes for quite a few tracks. It's not done badly though, as is very easily could have been. Everything seems right, fits and compliments everything else.
The first sketchy moment was the lyrics in the chorus to Mojo; "Now roll it up and smoke it again, now line me up and snort it again, now fix it up and shoot it again, I can't believe I did it again". I hope he's taking the piss. Midlife crisis anyone?
Don't Even Trip is a collaboration with Amon Tobin and is one of my favourites, it's naturally a bit darker than the rest of the songs and has a really catchy chorus. Kook Keith provides his undeniable vocal talents to Getaway and Your Neighborhood Spaceman is a very easy Dan The Automator style trip hop tune even though it's one of the ones he's not on.
The first downfall comes in the form of track six; Kill The DJ, a collaboration with Massive Attack. That's a shame because I was hoping that was going to be one of the best; it's just a bit dull.
The next surprise is Sucker, featuring Norah Jones. It's not an easy ballad as you would expect and Patton has got her singing "There's one born every minute, Sucker, Sucker, So keep it in your pants boy, Sucker, Sucker, What makes you think you're my only lover, the truth kinda hurts don't it mother f***er". Genius!!
We're Not Alone is another favourite. Dale Crover (from the Melvins) provides the drums on most tracks and lays down a nice beat here. It's the simple, steady beats I like best, that's why I like Dan the Automator so much. This track bursts onto a Faith No More style rock chorus and it's catchy as hell. Definitly a good track.
Patton has actually expanded his musicianship too; he plays bass, guitar and keyboards on here as well as singing and beatboxing, who needs a whole band anyway!?
Peeping Tom is very much a pleasant surprise and is by far and away Patton's best release in the last three or four years. The collaborations and the time he's spent on it have given him a new lease of life, and even though most of the album is beat oriented, tracks like We're Not Alone and Five Seconds reassure us that he's not gone over to the dark side and still loves his rock and roll. There are some dubious lyrics scattered throughout, but they're probably tongue in cheek.
Overall, Peeping Tom is pretty consistent, it's varied (as if it wouldn't be), the collaborations are all good bar Massive Attack and most of it you'll be singing for days afterward.
Nice one Mr. P, reassurance that you can still realease some inspired music. I think the fact that it works is due to it's less esoteric and less idiosynchratic nature. It's a record for the people!