They may have come up with one of the greatest band names of all time, but for the various members of Faith No More this choice constitutes one of the few things done right in a more than thirty years of wilful provocation. Biting the hand that feeds it? FNM have on several occasions seemed hell bent on cutting it off.
Ten thousand words could barely summarise the LA quintet's chaotic journey (A relatively concise summary of their earlier years is on the internet, reproduced from an old issue of Classic Rock) but we have only 500-ish. Luckily the history of We Care A Lot is pretty illustrative of their crazed dynamic - how many other 6 million album selling groups would let their début be out of print for more than 20 years? Precisely.
FNM are at least temporarily now a going concern again, having released the well-received Sol Invictus on singer Mike Patton's own label last year. The decision to dust off We Care A Lot however was partly fuelled by the accidental rediscovery of the original masters by bass player Bill Gould, whilst in a markedly "Normal" approach to this sort of thing this deluxe edition also expands the running order using remixes, demo versions and live takes.
The title track should mean at least something to those rockers with more head than hair: a noxious blast at the sudden piety of musicians following Live Aid - amongst a number of other satirical targets - it got legs via early incarnations of MTV, the insolent P-funk bass, slashing riffs and Fratboy vocals combining to an effect not dissimilar to the crude early stylings of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
Pardon us for sounding cynical, but the heritage release approach is now fairly well established, in so much as it involves dusting off something most of its target demographic will already have in one format: We Are A Lot's relative obscurity gives it instead something of a clean slate. It's refreshing therefore to find that FNM's first line-up, with the adenoidal Chuck Moseley on vocals, were - away from the title track- closer in spirit to British bands like Killing Joke, especially on the Goth tinged Why Do You Bother and Greed, the latter a stinging riposte from the singer at those who argued the band lacked song writing finesse.
Props must be given too for any outfit that put not one but two instrumentals on their first release: these signs of early contrariness are Jim (Brief acoustic, me alone in a cabin in the woods thing) and Pills For Breakfast (Crepuscular, Ministry-lite industrial/metal crossover), each showcasing FNM's protean (And subsequently often baffling) gift for genre pick and mix. Not that they weren't capable of being straight enough to be almost great, as closer New Beginnings grafts synth pop onto We Care A Lot's most direct moments, the result a direction which we now know as a promising dead end.
The bonus material provides some mildly diverting narratives: the remixed title track now sounds much less unsure of itself underneath the hubris, whilst the original demo of Greed completely outpoints the finished article, cleaner, not trying as hard. Completists may also welcome the inclusion of the plodding additional instrumental Intro, as well as a couple of live numbers from back in the day (New Beginnings, The Jungle) neither of which do more than capture a well drilled outfit that have yet to learn how to dazzle and confront their audiences.
The essence of We Care A Lot could've feasibly stayed buried in a middle aged bass player's apartment for eternity, but more for its spirit than its shape, it's resuscitation is a deserved one, the prologue to the career of a band who've actively listened to the devil on their shoulder in wicked perpetuity.
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