King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime by Faith No More
8 Apr 2022
The cover art of this overlooked gem by alternative oddballs Faith No More reminds me of a police officer I once met who had the image tattooed all over his forearm. It shows the power of music, that when I mentioned the album to him, he became relaxed and excitable, not like any police I had met before or since. It gave me hope that someone appreciated this album enough to take it everywhere they went.
(I sometimes wondered if he would say the album’s name, “King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime”, to troublemakers or schoolchildren to explain why crime doesn’t pay. It probably wouldn’t work, but it might convert some into Faith No More fans).
Faith No More’s catalogue seems to be split into 3 parts: the Chuck Mosley era, the Mike Patton and Jim Martin (champion pumpkin grower) era, and the era without Martin, in which the band’s popularity seemed to wane. King For A Day beckons in this 3rd era. Trey Spruance (from Mr Bungle) takes the guitar duties here while keyboardist Roddy Bottum was absent for most of the recording, due to personal difficulties. It takes a clear detour from the epic experimental album Angel Dust, which found a genius balance of catchy songs with ferocious walls of noise.
King For A Day is a musical mystery tour that makes FNM sound like a much bigger ensemble. Star A.D. gives us smooth yet cartoonish horns, Evidence is a sleazy funk song complete with strings and soulful vocals from Patton. Just a Man elevates the band with a gospel choir. We also go into latin territory with Caralho Vaodor, complete with percussion section and a chilled acoustic guitar. Is this all the result of Martin’s departure? Likely, as he left the band unhappy with the creative direction Patton was taking it. We still get hard rock - thrashing guitars, Mike Borden’s always-impressive drums and Patton’s screeches and shouts. But the zany avant-garde of Mr Bungle has clearly creeped in here.
Every track is impressive, entertaining and with unexpected turns. The stylistic changes throughout the album may unnerve some listeners, but the frantic yet goofy energy of FNM is ever present. King For A Day is an album that deserves more listens, more chances, as there is something here for people who won’t expect it.