FNM = FTW!

Faith No More are Back Back Back and frankly it’s like they’ve never been gone. Performing at The Download Festival over the weekend, on a stage set that made them look like the house band in The Black Lodge from Twin Peaks, they delivered a storming run through their back catalogue, allaying all fears that their comeback would be nothing more than a cash fuelled disappointment (particularly when you consider how tired and bored they sounded on their last tour, in 1998).

FNM

Never a massive commercial success  – Amazingly they are considered to be a 1 hit wonder in the US. Like Sparks, with whom they briefly collaborated, they were much more appreciated in Europe than in their home country, undoubtedly for their similarly wonky sense of humour. Nevertheless they managed to influence a handful of great bands, like Incubus and System of a Down, along with a great many more crappy ones (throw a rock into the air during the late 90s Nu Metal era and you’d hit some half assed rap rocker). When they broke through in 1989 with The Real Thing (and specifically the single Epic) they were described as “Funk Metal” and lumped in with The Red Hot Chili Peppers, but this was never really an adequate description. By the time they released their next album in 1992 , the world was well and truly ruled by grunge, and long haired scruffy bastards were the order of the day, but Angel Dust was not only unlike anything else in the charts, but also such a weird amalgam of musical styles that it was difficult to ascertain any primary influence on the band.

Even now their songs have a baffling quality to them, which I always equated to Progressive Rock, but they always combined a sense of humour – not to mention real melodies – with their experimental impulses. Their best stuff has a wide eyed drama to it. Ashes To Ashes and Just a Man are the sort of songs that you can imagine The Silver Surfer listening to as he rides the cosmic winds, while Land of Sunshine and A Small Victory sound even weirder 17 years on. Now that I have heard more music I realise how bizarre they really were.

So are they still relevant? I’m not even sure what that means but as they were always so individual they never fit into any particular scene or genre so they don’t sound dated. And We Care A Lot specifically parodies plenty of late 80s trash culture – so with Michael Bay’s pretentiously named Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots fest in cinemas, even “ver kids” will get the reference to Transformers, although the shout out to The Garbage Pail Kids may prove a little more obtuse.


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