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Mr. Bungle - OU818 (demo) CD (album) cover

OU818 (DEMO)

Mr. Bungle

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.34 | 13 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
3 stars MR BUNGLE released their fourth demo OU818 in 1989 after three previous demos that showed the band debut as a death metal band on 'The Raging Wrath Of The Easter Bunny' and then took a complete stylistic shift on their second demo 'Bowel Of Chilly' as they completely dropped the style in favor of a Fishbone inspired fusion of ska and funk rock, however it took them a couple demos to warm up and finally scored a cohesive band sound on their third demo 'Goddammit I Love America!' On OU818 they continued to hone their sound into an undeniably addictive eclectic mix that at long last sounded like no one else on the music scene. Not only did Mike Patton get his vocal act together but compositionally speaking, the band began to fuse progressive rock into the jazz-fusion and funk metal mix.

The title OU818 was a play on the popular yet lame Van Halen album of the day titled 'OU812' which found the Van 'Hagar' sound rapidly failing and becoming stale. This is the point where both Danny Heifetz would replace Hans Wagner on drums and B'r McKinnon would take over Luke Miller's role on horns. The classic lineup was complete and the chemistry is magic at this point. The band had even taken it upon themselves to handle the production and it really does sound much better than the three demos that came before. While the debut demo was clearly rooted in the metal world, the band took a hiatus for the next two with only snippets of heaviness but the heavy riffing returned on OU818 with bombastic outbursts of funk metal riffing interspersed between the surreal soundscapes that sandwiched them.

OU818 is in effect a rough draft of the eponymous debut album that would appear on the Warner Brothers label in 1991. Of the six tracks aboard, four are almost nearly completed tracks from the first album which include: 'Squeeze Me Macaroni,' 'Slowly Growing Deaf,' 'The Girls Of Porn' and 'Love Is A Fist.' The remaining two tracks consist of the opening 'OHUE818' which is a snazzy little intro with Patton emulating a radio DJ talking shit about the new demo and dissing the Van Halen album that was current with electronic music sputtering on in the background. While the main staple is the ska infused funk rock and metal that they had been developing, MR B had diversified its sound manyfold finding not only more metallic riffs interspersed about but a clear John Zorn influence raging on in the horn section especially on 'Love Is A Fist.'

The final track only appears on this demo and despite a track name like 'Mr. Nice Guy' sounding like a possible alteration of an Alice Cooper classic, it is in fact a ska funk number with jazzy guitar riffs, a beefy bass line and an overall similar sound to the riffs heard on 'The Girls Of Porn.' MR B also has entered sound effect territory with the classic dialogue from the 50s school skit about how not to be a MR BUNGLE finding its way into their world as well as sudden genre shifts and time signature freak outs run amok. Overall this is an excellent demo and the best of the four as it sounds like a fully formed mature MR BUNGLE has emerged from the death metal and early Fishbone clone sounds of only a few short years before. So impressive is this demo that it caught the attention of Warner Bros who would release one of the weirdest albums of their label's history. While this is excellent as a demo, it still lacks all the perfecting touches that a major budget provides and since four out of six tracks are on the debut in a much better finished product, this remains excellent but not really essential. Very well worth the time to explore beyond just a hardcore fan curiosity though.

3.5 rounded down

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |

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