Released: July 13, 1999
It was another four years before the band released what would be its last album. Theo Lengyel had left the bad due to “creative differences”. The album has half of it sounding like it is the Beach Boys gone wrong, while the other half sounds like a mix of stuff from the first two album. I think anything not sounding very Beach Boys-like are songs written by Trey. I think the songs written by either Mike or Trevor have the more poppy feel to them.
I thought this album could have been a big hit commercially if it ever got any radio play. Even though they were on Warner Bros. label, they never had any marketing behind their releases. It also had the bad timing of being released right in the middle of the nu metal phase of music in 1999. All anyone wanted to hear was Korn, Limp Bizkit and other stupid bands like that. No one wanted anything with melody.
The band toured the U.S. twice for this album–once on their own in 1999 and again in 2000 on a Sno-Core where they were sadly one of the opening acts to System of a Down and Incubus. The good news on that last tour was we were able to leave as soon as Mr. Bungle was done. The bad news was the audience sucked since they didn’t really know Mr. Bungle. It was funny to watch the band mess with them though. Below the first two pictures, the band dressed in Hawaiian shirts, visors and leis for the tour.
The pictures below are all from Sno-Core where the band just dressed in various weird outfits. When we saw them, Mike was in a full-on geisha costume with white face paint and little red lips. It was awesome. Too bad I can’t find any pictures of that. I wonder if he only did it at our show.
With hints that the band was slowly moving away from one another, most of the songs were written by one or two members of the band instead of everyone together.
Song: Sweet Charity
It has the California/beach sounds and it is very reminiscent of Beach Boys, but slightly twisted. The lyrics sound on the surface nice and happy, but it is really all about people trying to be oblivious to anything bad going on around them by smiling, drinking, etc. to avoid thinking about it. Mike wrote this song.
Song: None Of Them Knew They Were Robots
I believe this is one of Trey’s songs. It has a swinging bass line and an overall swing-vibe to the song. It is fun to sing along to, especially when they are yelling “none of them knew, none of them knew!”
I know this is one of Trevor’s songs. It is a slower number, but very pretty. Nothing too weird going on, except for the lyrics.
Song: The Air-Conditioned Nightmare
My favorite song on the album. It has the beach sounds and is very upbeat and dancey. It is such a fabulous song about planning a suicide. The music was by Bar McKinnon and Mike, but Mike wrote the lyrics.
Song: Ars Moriendi
This is one of Mike’s songs even though it sounds like it could be one of Trey’s. Ars moriendi means “the art of dying right” in Latin, and refers to some text written in 1415-1450 about how to die well when the plague was affecting Europe. There were instructions on rituals that should be done and this song seems to be about it.
Song: Pink Cigarette
This band loves to write about domestic violence, since we have found another one! It seems one person who is in an abusive relationship and has found evidence that their partner has been cheating so they kill themselves. For most of the song, it is sung like a slow jazzy-type song until the very end where you have the life monitor noises that you hear in hospitals. The music was done by Mike and Trey, but Mike wrote the lyrics.
Song: Golem II: The Bionic Vapour Boy
Another Trey song that seems to be about Gilgamesh, a possible king of Sumaria. It is very bouncy sounding.
Song: The Holy Filament
My least favorite song on the album. I just find it boring. It is a Trevor song. It is kind of slow, but not as pretty as Retrovertigo.
Song: Vanity Fair
The music is by Trevor and Mike, but Mike wrote the lyrics. My second favorite song on the album. It is about some group of eunuch’s known as the Skoptsi. They were a secret sect of Christianity in Russia that were convicted of persuading men to castrate themselves. It is a fabulous uplifting sounding song about castration. =) You can’t say that you don’t learn things by listening to Mr. Bungle.
Song: Goodbye Sober Day
Another one by Bar and Mike. It sounds like something that would have fit perfectly on Disco Volante, especially the verse that sounds like Mike is doing Gregorian chants that leads into much yelling and weird noise making.
We all thought we would have to wait another four years for another album so the fans were patient. Well, four years would have been 2003 and nothing new from Mr. Bungle. Mike Patton was making tons of new music with either Fantomas, Tomahawk or a million other collaborations he had going on. Trey Spruance had Secret Chiefs 3 and Trevor Dunn released jazz albums every once in a while. Trey finally sent an email to a fan-based mailing list that Mr. Bungle was officially dead. They were too busy doing other stuff. Maybe some time down the road, they will get back together for something new, but don’t hold your breath.