What do you do when your last album opened with the sound of a surgical saw cutting into someone’s chest cavity? Why, you make cartoon music, of course! No matter how hard Mike Patton and his hyperabrasive supergroup (Dave Lombardo, Trevor Dunn and Buzz Osborne) try, though, Fantomas just isn’t wired for levity. Instead, the group takes the whimsy and grace we normally associate with cartoons and grinds them to bits. Strangely, the band doesn’t exactly dive headfirst into the latent menace or pathology of cartoons, either, choosing instead its trademark made-for-ADD song structures as its principal mode. Of course, that’s exactly what Patton fans want — and this album will broaden horizons of even the most inured listeners — but it’s hard not to see him as a musical fetishist who can get off only on weirdness. You’ll get off, too, but you might feel violated; even with absolutely nothing to prove, Patton still sounds like he’s trying too hard to get attention. Yet, in the end, his towering musical gifts prevail.

Categories: Music