Like a lapsed Catholic on the threshold of atheism, I had mixed feelings about Faith No More’s return. The last we heard of them was in the year of our lord 1997, and I had to wonder if the band had anything left to say or if the well had run dry. So, join me, fellow sinners as I genuflect and reflect upon the latest work of Faith No More.
The titular track is about a man struggling with his faith or lack thereof, a fitting subject considering the band’s name. A man who worships at the altar of a god he doesn’t know or understand, “I’m coming Lord, I’m on my way/Worshipping at an altar of no-one/Can’t remember which God is my wine,” who despairs at the trappings and rituals of a religion he no longer understands or empathises with. It is quite fitting that an album so focused on rising again is called Sol Invictus, as Sol Invictus was the official sun god of the latter Roman Empire, whilst also symbolising the band’s own return after an absence of more than a decade. It’s almost like the album, and this song especially is the band questioning themselves and asking “can we still do it?”
Superhero is the first single, and stands up next to the classics like Epic and We Care A Lot. The song ruminates on the subject of whether the superman would be a leader of men or just another puppet leader getting his/her strings pulled by corporate powers, publicly manipulated for political ends. It’s definitely hinted at the latter when Mike Patton sings “Leader of men/get back in your cage.” But in the end the sun rises and the myth fades leaving us only bitter reality, and then the cycle begins anew when the question is posed “Leader of men/Will you become one of them?”
Sunny Side Up begins with Patton’s seductive soul funk growl of “I’ll be your Leprecaun/Shamrock or lucky charm,” and is an ear pleasing excuse for Patton to aurally seduce the audience in the same way he did with Faith No More’s cover of Easy, whilst using food metaphors for sex feeding into the idea that both are a biological imperative that feed into the basic human need of hunger.
It seems that 2015 is the year for come backs, and so far I’m happy to say I haven’t been disappointed. I haven’t had quite so much sacrilegious fun since I got kicked out of the choir for fighting.
Monthly music columnist for the Kirkby Extra, sometimes article writer for Get Into This. Freelance writer/artist/maker.