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CD Reviews:
The Listening Room: Faith No More, Jamie Foxx, Brandon Flowers, David Duchovny and more...

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Tuesday, May 19, 2015

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Faith No More

"Sol Invictus"

(Reclamation/Ipecac Recordings)

Grade: B

Emerging on album for the first time in 18 years, Faith No More blasts -- and not just from the past. The genre-blending hard rock quintet faces the unenviable position of balancing fond memories from two decades ago (or more) and re-establishing itself as relevant in a new millennium. The good news is that FNM is well-equipped to do that; the rap-rock blend of 1989's "Epic" has always been just one arrow in the group's creative quiver -- sometimes to a fault, to be honest. The 10-track "Sol Invictus," produced by bassist Bill Gould, is another of FNM's aural amusement parks, with song arrangements that dip, swerve and careen with dizzying but almost always engaging precision. The politically charged "Superhero," for instance, shifts from thrashy, frenetic verses into anthemic choruses, while "Suny Side Up," "Rise of the Fall" and "Matador" are swirling, operetta-like showcases for frontman Mike Patton's varied vocal characterizations. Those who like their FNM heavy are served by the cascading "Separation Anxiety" and the garagey "Black Friday," while the closing "From the Dead's" shimmering acoustic guitar offers yet another tonal variation. "Sol Invictus" is not for the feint of heart, but it sufficiently reminds us why we missed FNM during the intervening years, and why we're happy to have the group back in active duty.

New & Noteworthy:

Ethan Daniel Davidson, "Drawnigh" (Seedsmen): The Detroit singer-songwriter continues to explore a variety of Americana directions on his latest album, joined by fellow area musicians such as His Name Is Alive's Warren Defever and members of the Howling Diablos, the Detroit Cobras, the Gories, The Octopus, Volebeats and more.

David Duchovny, "Hell or High Water" (ThinkSay/Caroline): "The X Files'" Fox Mulder and Californication's" Hank Moody turns troubadour, co-writing all 12 songs on his first album.

Brandon Flowers, "The Desired Effect" (Island): The second solo album by the Killers frontman features contributions by some of his bandmates as well as Danielle Haim, Bruce Hornsby, Neil Tennant of the Pete Shop Boys and more.

Jamie Foxx, "Hollywood: A Story of a Dozen Roses" (RCA): The actor-musician's fifth album features collaborations with Pharrell Williams, Fabolous, Chris Brown, Kid Ink and Wale, among others.

Twenty One Pilots, "Blurryface" (Fueled By Ramen): The Columbus, Ohio, duo worked with an array of producers and broadened its sound on its sophomore album.

Zedd, "True Colors" (Interscope): The Grammy Award-winning Russian electronic musician and producer loads his second artist album with appearances by Selena Gomez, X Ambassadors, Logic, Ecosmith and more.

Also Out: JD Allen, "Graffiti" (Savant); Joe Alterman, "Georgia Sunset" (self released); Jeff Beck, "Live +" (Atco/Rhino); Jason Michael Carroll, "What Color Is Your Sky" (For The Lonely); Cheerleader, "The Sunshine of Your Youth" (Bright Antenna); Coal Chamber, "Rivals" (Napalm/Soundworks); Voo Davis, "Midnight Mist" (Butter & Bacon); Emery, "You Were Never Alone" (BC Music); Thea Gilmore, "Ghosts & Graffiti" (Fullfill); God Damn, "Vultures" (One Little Indian); The Grahams, "Glory Bound" and "Rattle The Hocks" (12 South/CEN); Jenn Grant, "Compostela" (JGM); Joanna Gruesome, "Peanut Butter" (Slumberland); Sammy Hagar & the Circle, "At Your Service" (Mailboat); Haste The Day, "Coward" (Solid State); Hot Chip, "Why Make Sense?" (Domino); Christian Lopez, "Onward" (Blaster); Vince Matthews and Jim Cases, "The Kingston Springs Suite" (Delmore); Milk Carton Kids, "Montery" (Anti-/Epitaph); Jim O'Rourke, "Simple Songs" (Drag City); John Patitucci, "Brooklyn" (Three Faces/The Orchard); Ana Popovic & Milton, "Blue Room" (Artsexclusive); Adam Rodgers and David Binney, "R&B" (Criss Cross); Silverstein, "I Am Alive in Everything I Touch" (Rise); The Story So Far, "The Story So Far" (Pure Noise); Torres, "Sprinter" (PTKF); Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear, "Skeleton Crew" (Glassnote); Paul Weller, "Saturn's Pattern" (Warner Bros.); Corinne West, "Starlight Highway" (Make); Jamie Lin Wilson, "Holidays & Wedding Rings" (self-released)

Soundtracks: "Fun Home: A New Broadway Musical" (PS Classics); "On the Twentieth Century: New Broadway Cast Recording" (PS Classics); Mark Streitenfeld, "Poltergeist" (Sony Masterworks); Various Artists, "Bessie: Music From the HBO Film" (Legacy)

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