A schizophrenic mix tape from former MR. BUNGLE and FAITH NO MORE vocalist Mike Patton, whose output after those bands has ranged from the harshly accessible (the excellent TOMAHAWK) to the attention-deficit deranged (FANTOMAS) to the downright irritating (the ridiculous "Adult Themes For Voice" records). As promised, PEEPING TOM is a pop record, albeit one filtered through Patton's whacked-out sense of melody and penchant for sneaking avant-garde moments into the smoothest tunes.
Guest stars abound here — MELVINS drummer Dale Crover provides much of the organic backbeat for these fractured tunes, while everyone from Norah Jones to beatboxer Rahzel to Dan the Automator and Kool Keith to MASSIVE ATTACK show up. This is most definitely not a metal record, though it's not strictly rock, hip-hop, or pop either — it's a glorious mess of styles, sometimes all at once. Patton sent off tapes to the various collaborators, many of whom he still has never met, but the results still sound like a funked-up, late-night jam between a bunch of unlikely pals at a studio slumber party.
The results are oftentimes more textural than hooky in a classic pop sense — though 'Mojo", "How U Feelin?" and "Sucker" are as gooey and infectious as anything else you'll hear this year (plus, anyone who gets Norah Jones to coo "motherfucker' on record deserves props just for that). Those yearning for the waning days of FAITH NO MORE won't have much to cling to here, although closer 'We're Not Alone" comes closest to the band's sound (circa "Album of the Year" and 'King For a Day…", at least).
Of tangential interest to the most open-minded headbangers, due to Patton's unmatched pedigree, PEEPING TOM is well worth your time and cash (even the packaging is cool, probably the most interesting CD package you'll buy this year outside of the new TOOL). Be prepared for liberal doses of breakbeats, rapping, general studio weirdness, and — thankfully — Patton actually singing his ass off, sounding like he doesn't have a smirk on his face for the first time in quite some time. Check it out.