A View Through A Keyhole
Six years might be an eternity to wait through for one album for some fans. Yet, in just shy of six years since the first trickling of public mention of Mike Patton’s “pop” project Peeping Tom, he has either released or been a major contributor on no fewer than eleven full-length albums. In the time since the inception of Peeping Tom, Patton has worked with a dream team worth of artists: King Buzzo, Dan the Automator, Duane Denison, The X-Ecutioners, Rahzel and Bjork. After an early demo leak, a major label flirtation and a six-year genre-defying series of musical experiments, the long-gestating guest-spot-filled Peeping Tom finally drops its self-titled debut album.
And lo, it is good. Opener “Five Seconds” with Odd Nosdam and “Celebrity Death Match” with Kid Koala mix the creepy side of slick electronica (funk bass, varied drum patterns, ambient synth drones) with a pinch of loud rock. Patton and Norah Jones trade seductive vocals against horn stabs and turntable slides on “Sucker” while singing, “what makes you think you’re my only lover?” Massive Attack brings an upbeat trip-hop sensibility to “Kill The DJ,” a sure-fire crossover hit as impressive for its bleeps and beats as it is for the note Patton amazingly holds during the chorus.
“Getaway” is more futuristic hip-hop with Mike providing the hook (“you’ve got to getaway”) to Kool Keith’s even-paced lyrical story of flight. Bebel Gilberto even drops by for a sunny waltz on “Caipirinha.”
The strongest tracks here “Your Neighborhood Spaceman,” “Don’t Even Trip” and “How U Feelin?” thrill, sooth and entice replay through soulful verses, meticulous arrangements and intoxicating melodies. The set ends with Dub Trio backing Patton up for “We’re Not Alone – Remix,” a patient number with a positively explosive chorus and vocals diverse enough to sound like three singers. Peeping Tom’s debut (reportedly the first of three), much like this song, is a stunning snapshot of a well-rounded career from a relentless professional.