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Faith No More – We Care A Lot (Deluxe Band Edition)
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Faith No More – We Care A Lot (Deluxe Band Edition)

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It’s been thirty-one years since the release of Faith No More‘s debut album, We Care A Lot, and a scarcely credible twenty years since it was last available commercially. When bassist Bill Gould discovered the master reels in his basement then, it seemed like an opportune moment to re-issue the album on a world that in the intervening period has changed… a lot.

Opening with the funk metal fizz of the title track (a markedly different version as it turns out with much of the commercial sparkle of subsequent mixes removed), ‘We Care A Lot’ may well sound strange to those who only joined the FNM party following the behemoth that is 1989’s ‘The Real Thing’. (Back when I was a student in the late ’80s/ early ’90s you couldn’t borrow a quid for the launderette, bunk off double Maths or redecorate the enamel on the toilet bowl following a heavy session on snakebite and black at the Student’s Union without hearing ‘The Real Thing’ blasting out from half the stereos on campus. The other half were most likely cranking out Ned’s Atomic Dustbin…)

It’s punky and raw where ‘The Real Thing’ was epic and layered, dark and introspective rather than outwardly funky. On occasion (fifth track ‘Why Do You Bother?’ being a case in point) it sounds like an exceptionally bad dream at an exceptionally scary circus. Had Slipknot been around in the mid-1980s and been listening to Killing Joke, Public Image Limited and Bauhaus the end result may not have been that far removed.

Yet despite this and the change in vocalist that was to come (Chuck Mosley appeared on the first two FNM albums before being replaced by Mike Patton for alleged erratic behaviour including falling asleep at the launch party to follow-up ‘Introduce Yourself’) all the ingredients are here.

From Jim Martin‘s crunching metallic riffs on ‘Pills for Breakfast’ (like a possessed ‘Woodpecker from Mars’) and the title track to Gould‘s bass intertwined with Mike Bordin‘s pounding drum-work on the new romantic nightmare of ‘Jungle’ and Roddy Bottom‘s chaotic, spiralling keyboards on ‘As the Worm Turns’ (a song that will still resonate with anyone who has ever felt pigeon-holed by society’s ‘norms’); Faith No More have always been at their greatest when their differences have been most pronounced.

Mosley may have had his problems with the band (though interestingly he reunited with the original members minus Martin for two Los Angeles shows to publicise the release of this album) but he adds to the energy and urgency of the songs, as well as bringing a bleak strain of sardonic self-deprecation to the likes of ‘Mark Bowen’ that the band then went on to build upon through the Patton era.

The new release also includes no fewer than nine bonus tracks. New mixes of ‘As the Worm Turns’, ‘Pills for Breakfast’ and ‘We Care A Lot’ (sounding much more like the radio-friendly dance floor filler with which readers may be familiar) as well as four demo versions including ‘Greed’, ‘Mark Bowen’ and ‘Arabian Dance’ and two live recordings from 1985.

For my money you can keep the bonus material (how many versions of a song does any one person need?) but where ‘We Care A Lot’ (Deluxe Band Edition) scores is in shedding light on the genesis of one of the most influential rock bands of the late ’80s and early ’90s, in all their funky, punky, crunchy glory.

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