Faith No More‘s Sol Invictus in far too easy cliffnotes shorthand would be a slice of The Real Thing with the general brevity of the songs (not the 2x vinyl album duration) of King For A Day, with plenty of unfamiliar yet familiar textures and pratfall avoiding moments of sheer joy and snark from camp “Rock Band” Patton and Co. Hearing Mike Bordin’s straight up, scarce frills yet so spot on percussion parts on the somewhat desert rock and Tomahawk-esque spaghetti western gangsta thriller “Cone Of Shame” is like putting on your favorite old coat that still is cooler than the new styles.
Was it worth the wait? Yes. I’m gonna say absolutely. This is a really great return to alternative nation.
The title track opens things up with the calm self control the band brought to the stage in Brooklyn a few years back opening with fucking “Midnight Cowboy” before just exploding with energy from there. Same digs here. “Sol Invictus” starts on a somber and slow, piano balladry note before we are thrust deep into “Superhero”, the band’s true comeback single. “LEADER OF MEN! GET BACK IN YOUR CAGE!!!” Man, that is the lyric of our times for the bank puppets we answer to who are all really still in bed with Wall Street and Big Pharma.
“Superhero” and “Motherfucker” appealed to Real Thing and perhaps Album Of The Year-era fans strongly, both great singles. “Superhero” in particular just has so much of the classic FNM sound no one has ever imitated well. There are even a few “Take This Bottle” worthy moments here (if perhaps no “Midlife Crisis” – Angel Dust will always be their best record to me. It’s just a fucking masterpiece front to back. “Smaller and Smaller”, kids. HIGH water mark dopest song maybe ever, in my book).
I’ve got to say that “Sunny Side Up” is one of the best lyrics Patton has penned in years, continuing the homerun streak he has had with recent songs he’s been a part of like “Stone Letter” or Peeping Tom’s dope ass “Kill The Dj” and the score for The Solitude Of Prime Numbers (which had the coolest, leafy packaging I’ve seen in a long time).
There’s swing, stomp, sass, some PMA, some funk, scat alley cat yeowwls we know and love, beautiful piano parts (sans floppy fish) and plenty of gimpery to go around. Like Soundgarden’s King Animal or the forthcoming Failure disc, it defies critics who think the band are cash grabbing. There isn’t a song as sexy as “Stripsearch”, one of the last pre-break serious gems the band wrote which inspired some friends of mine to start a whole short lived band with the same name years ago…but I was slightly baked and exhausted in the bus station in NYC today listening to the NPR premiere of Sol Invictus in the headphones and just fucking found myself jamming the hell out and drumming in a pink t shirt not giving a fuck if people stared at me. What the hell ever. That’s a good sign.
Then I was looking at the picture of the two friendly cops on the wall by Gate 32 when Patton sang “Aint no grave gonna hold this body down”, and it made me feel something really deep and profound for the fabric of our society so at odds over hate and racism.
I’m not giving it a 4.5 out of comparisons to shittier bands but because it stands on its’ own merits. If that was the case it would have had a five (and probably should since once this site gave a five star rating to The Bunny, The Bear). But yeah, I really wanted someone to bring back the power of weird ass, ambitious rock for the radiation soaked masses. Oh wait, somebody has. Faith No More!!! Goodbye, Motherfucker(s)! You had it coming! #rainbowswillcurveforme