28 January 2013
by Daniel Cairns
Mike Patton could record himself belching into a dictaphone and stick some reverb on it and fans would still clamour over it, such is the frenzy the man causes. Oddfellows isn’t like that though, thankfully, or unfortunately (depending on how broken you are). Out of the gazillion projects he’s shrieked and gurgled on, Tomahawk is the one most likely to appeal to your average Faith No More listening gumby, being as they are, a relatively straightforward rock band, although they’d still make a litany of Foo Fighters fans feel dumber than they already are.
Tomahawk owe more to good old fashioned noise rock though, largely due to the fact Duane Denison from The Jesus Lizard is hacking away at the 6-string, and John Stanier of Helmet is on the cans. The last Tomahawk album, 2007’s Anonymous was a collection of Native American folk song covers (seriously), but Oddfellows sees Patton and company go back to the stuff that made their first two albums so good, with the odd jazzy avant garde flourish. For the kids.
It’s a sinister sounding little bugger, Denison’s distinctive, harsh guitars coiling around like a drunk, angry viper that’s had a few too many with David Yow, ably assisted by John Stanier and Patton’s best mate Trevor Dunn on the bass (he was in Mr Bungle and Fantomas too). Patton’s just…well, Patton really, although he scales back on the histrionics a lot here bless him. It’s still his show, but there’s a lot less of his ‘BLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGHBRUBRUBRUBRUR PISSPISSPISS’ here, so he never overpowers the rest of the band.
Watch the video to ‘Stone Letter’ by Tomahawk:
That’s not to say it’s all straight ahead. One track, ‘Rise Up Dirty Waters’, is something of a throwback to Mr Bungle during Disco Volante, jutting around with a bit of a jazz skronk. Although it’s not as full on batshit as Disco Volante. Very few things are though. ‘The Quiet Few’ could come from any top level Jesus Lizard album (bar Patton’s vaguely operatic gurning), slide guitars whining in over a slinky bass riff. It’s great.
The whole album is pretty great, and the only vague complaint is that it’s not as good as 2003’s Mit Gas (Which is easily one of the best records our MIke’s been involved with). It still shits on most other things though. Yep, 4 guys in their 40s (although Mike Patton still looks in his mid 20s, probably due to all the pissdrinking he indulged in with Faith No More, or Satan) are making music more urgent and exciting than a myriad of teenagers with Ableton, a 7 string and a few Meshuggah records. Little wankers.
Sounds like: The Jesus Lizard, Mike Patton titting about.
Standout Tracks: The Quiet Few, Rise Up Dirty Waters, Stone Letter.