Shining In The Kingdom Of Kitsch You Will Be A Monster

[Rune Grammofon; 2005]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles:  sci-fi-lounge-jazz-noir-metal
Others: Various Mike Patton projects

Somewhere out there a movie exists that Shining knows about and I don't. From the sound of things, it is a sci-fi noir with lots of back alley bars and a rough around the edges anti-hero presumably played by Mike Patton. Shining provides the music, and even makes a guest appearance as the ensemble at one of the shady joints our hero finds himself in. Of course, this makes In the Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be A Monster the soundtrack album to our mystery movie.

Things kick off on a high note with "Goretex Weather Report," the imaginary opening theme, which serves as a mission statement of sorts for the album. Not only does Shining show off their knack for a jazzy melody, but after a minute or so, the drummer unleashes and the band reveals that they are as much metal as jazz. Next is the manic "REDRUM"; with its aggressive horn melodies and rat-a-tat drums, it is clearly the best music for a chase scene I've ever heard. The highlights afterwards are innumerable as the band leaps through all sorts of Mr. Bungle-like hoops in style while somehow keeping mood and melody intact.

After the action and theme music of the first three-quarters of the album, the final quarter (a.k.a. the last two tracks) fall into what would be the film's incidental music, more ambient, more straightforward, less melodic, and less fun. These songs obviously chronicle our would-be hero's descent into despair. However, this is no bittersweet longing for better times with beautifully melancholy melodies, this is the "I'm in hell now and maybe the good time were never that good" sort of despair, with requisite musical alienation. While if the film existed, I assume this section be very moving, maybe even thought provoking, but on record it causes an otherwise fantastic album to go out with much more of a yawn than a tear. That being said, even without a real movie to play along to, not much can beat the first eight tracks.

1. Goretex Weather Report
3. Romani
4. Perdurabo
5. Aleister Explains Everything
6. 21=300=20 (it is by will alone I set my mind in motion)
7. Where Death Comes To Cry
8. The Smoking Dog
9. Magazine RWRK
10. You Can Try The Best You Can