Mike Patton. Love him or hate him, everyone has an opinion about Patton and his many projects. From Faith No More and Mr. Bungle, to Lovage and Tomahawk, the famed voice thrower always keeps his fans guessing and on their toes. As for Peeping Tom, this is a project that is not only close to Mike's heart, but also has been in the works for about four years. The album is finally seeing the light of day in a few weeks, but we have been lucky enough to spend some time with it in our offices before the official release date.
Everything about this album has been impressive, from the artwork to the songwriting; Peeping Tom really does have something for everyone. The collaborators for the eleven-track genre-bending LP read like a who's who of music including Massive Attack, Kid Koala, Dan The Automator, Odd Nosdam, Rahzel, Amon Tobin, Bebel Gilberto, Norah Jones, Kool Keith, Jel, Dub Trio and Doseone. With such a large ensemble, it's hard to imagine what it was like to record an album with bits and pieces strewn about the globe like it was in this case. No wonder it took Patton four years to complete. Additionally, those supporting artists are what help make the album defy genres. Granted, Patton claims that Peeping Tom is a pop record, but after multiple listens I tend to disagree somewhat. There are no throw away songs on here, as is the case with so many pop records out there. Each listen sheds light onto something that was missed before, a new layer that is uncovered and a new experience is had by the audience. That's not to say that there is a lack of hooks, lyrics and some simple structures thrown in for good measure. The difference lies in the fact that Peeping Tom is smart in how they go about creating the songs.
"Five Seconds" (feat. Odd Nosdam) opens up the album with an eruption of sounds, screams and insane drumbeats. Speaking of cool beats, one of the best tracks on the album, "Don't Even Trip" (feat. Amon Tobin) may not be suitable to be played on mainstream radio without an edit, but it rules nevertheless. It finds a happy medium by blurring the lines between hip-hop and rock, and it's hard not to get your body moving on this one. The first single, "Mojo" (feat. Dan The Automator and Rahzel), is one of the most accessible tracks on the album and makes for a great introduction into the project for people unfamiliar with Patton's work. There is beat boxing throughout the entire song and at the end the lyrics whispered are "Oops, I did it again." Is this a slam on Britney Spears (how apropos), or is it implying that he made a hit single? Either way it's great. Moving along, have you ever wondered what it's like to hear a good girl go bad? Look no further than "Sucker" (feat. Norah Jones), where Jones says naughty phrases like "What makes you think you're my only lover / the truth kind of hurts don't it mother fucker."
Fan of the R&B world? Patton has that covered too. On "Your Neighborhood Spaceman" (feat. Jel and Odd Nosdam), the music starts off with a '70s infused scratched vinyl sounding jam before it turns into a Prince-like break, only to change again into Portishead-esque beats being crammed in-between words and the other many textures provided. This flows in nicely with the next song, "Kill The DJ" (feat. Massive Attack), that trip hop/dance lovers will be more than excited about. Dark and slinky, Patton's execution of soaring vocals match up well with the angry pissed off rock explosion provided by Massive Attack. Ah yes, Patton is finally singing again. This makes for some great listening, and sounds like nothing that's been heard before.
Hands down, Mike Patton's Peeping Tom was well worth the wait. Patton is known for his experimentation; and our ears are left being better off for his willingness to try new things. The new album shows passion, and most importantly, creativity; which is something a lot of current music is lacking. Listen to this now.