Darrell Ford
staff writer
June 01, 2006
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Peeping Tom Peeping Tom
May 30, 2006
Ipecac Recordings
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Rock Music Reviews
Peeping Tom
Peeping Tom

Ipecac has become a haven for music as far reaching and experimental as the label’s founder, Mike Patton. Home now to a variety of rock, folk and rap projects [including Patton’s own 2005 collaboration with DJ collective the X-ecutioners] it’s no simple task to define anything coming out of Ipecac’s collection. Patton’s progress is especially difficult to track because he presents different faces across projects [Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, Faith No More] and even between releases from the same identities. Because Patton teamed again with Dan the Automator close on the heels of General Patton vs. The X-ecutioners, anticipating a heavy hip hop bent would seem perfectly reasonable. More than anything, though, Peeping Tom leans towards the realm of R&B, but is more Massive Attack [who make a guest appearance] than Boyz II Men. Patton calls this his version of pop music, the kind of music he would like to hear on the radio [if he listened to the radio].

The Peeping Tom project has been on the backburner for nearly six years, but fortunately has lost little to the passage of time. Nearly half the beats on the record are dark and expansive, properly evoking the term "space-aged." The guests on the album include beatmasters Rahzel and Dan the Automator and Jel, rap legend Kool Keith, and cerebral alt-hoppers Odd Nosdam and Doseone. Rahzel and the Automator provide a dark and enveloping soundscape as our favorite general gets his “Mojo” running on one of the album’s best songs. Patton transitions beautifully between a raspy growl during verses and a softer, melodic chorus primarily about drug use. [He also takes time out to lampoon Britney Spears’s “Oops! I Did It Again.”] The surprisingly soothing “Don’t Even Trip” follows a similar pattern, though the line “I know that assholes grow on trees/ But I’m here to trim the leaves” shouldn’t sound as pleasant as it does.

On other tracks, Patton proves himself entirely on hooks and choruses. Kool Keith’s turn on “Getaway” is predictably dark and obtuse, while Patton sounds at ease delivering a throaty mantra of “You’ve got to get away.” Norah Jones steals that show from Patton on “Sucker,” where she shocks [and pleases] with her invective laden chorus. “Five Seconds” and “Celebrity Death Match” both benefit from Patton’s roars that are just on the right side of singing. “Five Seconds”’s countdown is one of many sonic elements that Patton develops into something catchier than it has any right being.

Peeping Tom is a well rounded disk and oddly easy to get into. Anchored by centerpieces “Kill The DJ” and “Mojo,” the album adopts an identity that cross-sections much of pop music. The only real misstep is the forgettable “Caipirinha” which falters because it sounds like prototypical elevator music rather than because it’s actually a bad track. Not every fan of Patton’s past work will love Peeping Tom, but the record is solid and displays very enjoyable versatility.

Release date: May 30, 2006
Label: Ipecac Recordings
Rating: 8.7 / 10

On the web: http://ipecac.com/bio.php?id=44
[RMR]