Monday, December 29, 2014

Jesters of Destiny: Fun at the Funeral (1986)

Faith Restored

I’ve got to be honest: I’ve never been a big fan of Faith No More. Not that I dislike them, exactly. I will say I don’t feel one way or the other about their reunion.

Why bring them up here? Jesters of Destiny was an L.A. band that could easily have been their peers. Maybe even the superior band. This is a reissue of their only record, 1986’s Fun at the Funeral, and it really gives off a Faith No More vibe. The punk-inflected “Incubus” is the most direct comparison to FNM, but the irreverence of the entire record reflects that spirit. Only, for my money, this is far superior.

The bass riff and synth combo from opener “Diggin’ That Grave” put this firmly within its era. Bass riffs bring a lot to this album, with another highlight coming from the rock ballad parody “Happy Times.” But it’s not only a product of its time. Apocalyptica is pre-figured in “Attack of the Jesters,” while I’m pretty sure Kvelertak lifted the riff from “I Hate Bruce.”

All around are indisputable earworms. Great riffs. Great choruses. Yet in an album full of catchy tunes with pop chart-worthy hooks, the real standout is the incredible “Crimson Umbrella.”

It’s really unfortunate these guys were dropped by their label and split up shortly after. Given another few years, they could have been a breakthrough success.

The Verdict: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Ektro Records

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