It's been a long wait for the debut album of Mike Patton's Peeping Tom project. About six years to be exact, but let's cut him a little slack, it's not like he hasn't been busy. Between FantÃÂ´mas, Lovage, Tomahawk, various John Zorn or solo projects and now acting, I don't know how the fuck he even finds time to do laundry. In any case, after much time, amidst many rumors and leaked demos, the album is finally here, and it's a doozy. Eleven tracks of hip-hop groove that in a perfect world, you'd probably be listening to it on whatever "urban" racial profiling-via-demographic studies radio station is in your area.
Peeping Tom isn't quite the balls-out commercially viable clutch for the brass ring that the always trustworthy Internet sources have led us to believe. While it is certainly more accessible than FantÃÂ´mas and maybe even Tomahawk, Peeping Tom is still very polarizing in its interpretation of the genre. And that's where its strength lies.
Starting off with "Five Seconds", Patton sets the tone for a 44 minute smooth ride that manages to surprise the listener despite the album being a seemingly logical progression after his work in the past with Lovage, his recent collaboration with The X-ecutioners, and unreleased work with Rahzel, who is one of the many guest appearances on the album; others include Kool Keith, Dale Crover of The Melvins and Norah Jones. Yes, you heard right. Ms. Jones in fact, supplies one of the album's highlights with her work on "Sucker", a vicious little kiss-off tune that's bound to make anyone remotely familiar with her music or image appreciate her talents all the more. But don't think that by Jones' inclusion there's any kind of sweety-sweetness at work here. As with any Patton-related project there's an underlying malevolence that belies even the most beautiful music created on the surface.
It should also be mentioned that as with previously released projects, the album design and artwork is still very much a priority for Patton. In this case giving the album having an ÃÂ¼ber-cool sleek sliding package that surely must have made production costs more than they would have, had the standard jewel-case been used. For an independent label, this can't be easy.
Peeping Tom is the antidote for every asshole that's been bitching since the demise of Faith No More that "Patton's cool and everything but he never just sings anymore", which is sort of inaccurate. He's been singing on lots of albums. He just tends to not muddle the process by using actual words.
There really isn't a bad song on the album assuming the listener knows what to expect. I've seen many a jaded prick comment on the band's recent appearance on Conan O'Brien as some sort of joke, but you just know those were the same assholes that looked at Faith No More as the end of Patton's career rather than the beginning. With all the apathy towards modern music, much of it warranted, it's healthy to at least have an opinion on what you hear. Even the most diehard Patton fan would have to admit that you don't have to like every single project the man puts out, but like them or not, he creates music that can't be ignored.