Faith No More were never as big or as clever as they thought they were. And for a band who was supposedly so influential, how come their name was never mentioned from the day they split up in 1998, until they day they announced their reformation in 2009? Which, of course, is why this wittily entitled compilation album has seen the light of day.
Now, there are already at least five Faith No More compilations on the go, which means that this sixth one actually equals the number of studio albums that they actually released. However, this is is the very best, definitive, ultimate, greatest hits collection, so it must be better than the other ones, mustn't it. Well, yes, sort of. It's better than most of them, but it probably ties with the first post split compilation, which performed the same trick of combining hits and rarities.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not anti Faith No More, for there is a lot of enjoyable music offered here. I just question their inflated opinion of themselves, one that was bolstered by critics during their lifetime. Possibly, because they seemed marginally more intelligent than most rock bands who were on the go at that time, despite vocalist Mike Pattons penchant for unfunny scatological practical jokes. They were also a lot less successful in their home country than I remember with only one Top Ten album and one platinum album to their names (Angel Dust and The Real Thing, respectively).
So, the money must have ran out, which would explain their return to the European festival circuit this summer and another stroll through their back catalogue. Like a lot of bands, their best music came early on in their career, and I've always had a lot of time for the Chuck Mosley albums. So I was glad to revisit a couple of tunes from his time in the band, and "We Care A Lot" and "R'n'R" are probably my favourite songs here. The hits are here too, with the opening three song salvo of "The Real Thing", "Epic"' and "From Out Of Nowhere", rock club staples back in the early nineties. Both their Top 10 UK hit singles are here as well, although they make an odd couple with "Midlife Crisis" and their oh so ironic cover of The Commodores "Easy", somewhat bizarre bedfellows.
Once they got past their early rap/funk/rock hybrid, they became considerably less interesting, especially once they dispensed with the services of Big Sick Ugly Jim Martin on guitar. His palpable loathing of the music he was playing on was a huge part of the Faith No More sound, as you could always rely on a huge power chord or scorching lead line to lay waste to their artier leanings. Once that was gone, you were left with a rather pedestrian, alternative rock band, and the post Angel Dust offerings are fairly bland.
Over on the rarities disc, there's an assortment of B-sides and oddities to bolster the collection, with some of the bonus tracks from the Who Cares A Lot? Greatest Hits collection reappearing, as well as the likes of "Sweet Emotion", which appeared on a Kerrang compilation and "New Improved Song", from a Sounds magazine giveaway. There's also that scurrilous modern world con trick, the i-Tunes Exclusive, something that annoys me beyond belief. I've bought the CD, but now you want to compel me to download tracks as well! I don't think so.
Bleating aside, there is a lot of good music here, although you'll need to use the skip button to make the best of it.