MR. BUNGLE — Goddammit I Love America! (review)

MR. BUNGLE — Goddammit I Love America! album cover Demo · 1988 · Non-Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
MR BUNGLE released their first demo “The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny” in 1986 primarily influenced by the emerging thrash and death metal scenes and created a lo-fi punk feeling noisefest but soon thereafter must have realized how much they sucked at it and started listening to the funk ska rock of Fishbone and early Red Hot Chili Peppers and the rest was history when they turned all funky ska rock on their second demo “Bowel Of Chiley.” While the band completely changed their sound up, they weren’t ready for prime time for sure as the whole affair came off as a little amateurish despite some interesting moments. On their third demo release GODDAMMIT I LOVE AMERICA! the band was more comfortably adapting to the more recognizable sound heard on their debut album of 1991. On this one Mike Patton and company had totally developed their swinging ska sound with the occasionally driving heavy funky metal.

The tracks are all crafted primarily with funky guitar riffs, a beefy funk bass and Mike Patton’s vocal acrobatics have already gained the power to veer all over the place like a circus performer. Also heard in the mix is their quirky carnival music that blends so well with their amusement park stylistic approach. GODDAMMIT I LOVE AMERICA! is a huge step above the first two demo in terms of songwriting as well as production. This is the first demo that would find two of its tracks to be more refined and polished and released on the debut album. Both “Egg” and “Carousel” are essentially already presented here in their full glory although they are clearly in need of some fine-tuning mostly in Patton’s vocal abilities as he hadn’t quite found the proper dramatic flair to grace each passage. This is especially true of “Carousel.” On “Egg” there are interesting differences that can lend a clue as to how the track evolved into the huge monstrosity that it would become.

The rest of the demo is filled with similar sounding songs in comparison with those two that would appear on the debut album but none quite having the strong attraction of the one’s chosen. Tracks like “Bloody Mary” and “Waltz For Grandma’s Sake” aren’t that bad actually however they sound a lot more like the ska funk rock band Fishbone who were doing a similar style at the time. At this point the three big names Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn and Trey Spruance are all on board with their respective talents as well as some early bunglers on the horn section including Luke Miller (who replaced Scott Fritz) on various horns and Theobald Lengyel on sax which gives the band a healthy sultry swing that had improved significantly from “Bowel Of Chiley. Gone as well are the comparisons to a mariachi band as the band has taken on a proper band sound of its own.

It was a wise choice for MR BUNGLE to walk away from the death metal that they displayed on their debut. Here they sound like they were made to create this interesting swinging, funk metal hybrid music that still incorporates some of that punk and metal freneticism from time to time. “Definition Of Shapes” is probably my favorite track on here that didn’t graduate to the ranks of the debut album but possibly didn’t cut the mustard because it has some of the same riffs as heard on “Egg” and also plays around and even briefly throws out some “Another One Bites The Dust” riffs by Queen with the end mixing funk rock with the track “Need You Tonight” by INXS. “Incoherence” is a nice little rocker turned into a beer hall polka mixed with punk angst. Overall this is a good demo well worth hearing once but just shy of essential and very much improved over the first two releases. This one was released only as a cassette and still hasn’t made it onto a CD format.
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