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PEEPING TOM - Peeping Tom   Print  E-mail 
Written by Mark Reed  
Tuesday, 06 June 2006
... It’s always fun to scream “Our love is like a Starbucks chain… and we’re TAKING OVER THIS NEIGHBORHOOD!” whilst armed with a buzzing hedgetrimmer...


Three or four years ago, ex Faith No More vocalist Mike Patton was asked by a fan why he made such difficult records. His response was something curt like “if you don’t want to use your brain you can always listen to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.”


Peeping Tom, the long awaited 10-years-in-the-fiddling album, is the culmination of his long held promise to return to the distinctive singing style that made his former band huge : a rock/rap/hiphop hybrid awash with guests such as Massive Attack, Raphael, Kool Keith, built on beats, sinister guitars, and drowning in tiny lyrical hooks.


 Unlike his other records – which can, at best, be described as generally lyrically scant and musically unmelodic – “Peeping Tom” is made of huge choruses, crunching noises, urban beats, lyrical dexterity, and dirty, brilliant sounds. It’s not the best record he’s made since Faith No More split, but certainly the most accessable and the most obvious. If you were waiting for the next Faith No More record, this is the next best thing.


Opener “Five Seconds” is far from the best song on the album, but then again, is the opening scene in any film the highlight? Designed to unlock a gig frenzy, Patton counts down to doom in all manner of permutations, a lyrical apocalypse thunderstorms in your ears, and images of ‘Your own personal Stalingrad’ and the ‘I’m just a piece of archeaology in your mind’ build a world of barely articulate heartbreak paranoia.


Album highlights are plentiful, but my personal favourite is “Kill The DJ” (with Massive Attack). Whilst Bristol’s contigent are barely audible, Patton owns the song with an infectious, mocking lyric that reads like a vile disco made of music you never want to hear : ‘in every club and every dance floor, behind every front door, in every car and every train, every bar and every plane, on every ghetto blaster between here and Spain… play me.Play Me. PLAY ME!’ the song implores, like the barely hidden mission statement of Crazy Frog.


These are songs that, if like me, you hate gardening, make the gardening almost bearable. It’s always fun to scream “Our love is like a Starbucks chain… and we’re TAKING OVER THIS NEIGHBORHOOD!” whilst armed with a buzzing hedgetrimmer.


“Mojo” and “How U Feelin” (a vicious parody of vaccous self-aggrandising rap) cruise along like some kind of self-loathing limo, if Radiohead had grown up in urban LA. Throw in some lyrical X-files paranoia in “Your Neighborhood Spaceman” and “We’re Not Alone” and you have pretty much one of the best albums of the summer.


For a determindedly homespun, do-it-yourself ethic that has made Patton master of his own destiny (and his own record label) for the past decade, “Peeping Tom” has an eye on the main chance and makes one thing clear : not only is he back, but he never went away. Aided with horror movie strings, melodies and stealing from his work with Lovage and the X-ecutioners, “Peeping Tom” is that most frightening of ideas (the rap/rock hybrid) that realises the full potential of the genre in a refreshingly non crap way.




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