Monday, June 18, 2012

Pick Of The Week: Faith No More and Bone & Bell

These picks could not be any further apart from each other. One recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and is still one of the most brilliantly unusual albums released by a hard rock band on a major label while the other is a stellar sophomore EP that adds another layer of beauty and artistry to an artist on the rise. The picks of the week are Angel Dust by Faith No More and Organ Fantasies by Bone & Bell.

Angel Dust is either the most dementedly brilliant album from a platinum selling band ever or it is the biggest and most defiant middle finger to success possible. Either way, Faith No More deserves praise for presenting Slash Records with the most complex and darkest album of their career as a followup to their breakthrough, The Real Thing. The album features songs referencing Dianetics, written under sleep deprivation, containing inside jokes about being submissive (and aggressive and swallowing) and a melodica filled cover John Barry's theme to Midnight Cowboy, none of which should be on the album proceeding the previous album's surprising success. Even as the band was somewhat at odds with guitarist Jim Martin during its recording, Angel Dust stands as the band's career highpoint and one of the most challenging and rewarding major label releases of the 90's.

By fluke (or sweet happenstance), I stumbled across Bone & Bell late last spring. From there, Loom was ordered and found constant rotation on my speakers. With that said, Organ Fantasies completely exceeds any expectations one could possibly think of for a followup release. Whereas the songs on Loom were minimalist pieces focusing on baritone ukulele and vocals, Organ Fantasies is grander in scope from the inclusion of organs, bass, stylophone (which was somehow missed on my part and mistaken for an organ), percussion and a more layered, fuller production. With a fuller sound, Heather Smith could have easily raised the vocal track or completely over-sung and over-emphasized each note. Instead, she delivers a solid emotional performance with vocal harmonies that weave into the fabric of the songs and add extra texture to the instrumental track. This four-track EP represents Smith and Bone & Bell's leap as artists as well as adding a welcomed edition to her growing catalog of songs.

Two picks that are drastically different from each other but are equally as rewarding as amazing artistic achievements. Angel Dust can still be purchased at Amazon or, if you are lucky, local record stores while Organ Fantasies can be purchased here. Buy both and add them to your summer playlist. Your ears and friends will thank you.

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