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Saturday, August 15, 2009

CD Review: Chuck Mosley and VUA - Will Rap Over Hard Rock For Food

Chuck Mosley and VUA - Will Rap Over Hard Rock For Food
2009 Reversed Image Unlimited
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

As the world awaits the return of Faith No More with its commercially-jacked lineup intact, it seems fitting by attrition the legendary art metal band's original vocalist likewise rises from the ashes of the rock underground.

Chuck Mosley vanished somewhat quietly after staking his reputation on Faith No More's debut album Introduce Yourself then a bit later holding down the hatches for HR in Bad Brains and also his own band, Cement. While Mosley was grossly upstaged by the dynamic and screwloose Mike Patton who has gone on to become an icon of individuality in music, Mosley apparently has been working hard on his own freewheeled independence as an artist.

Introduce Yourself is, admittedly a cult album in relation to Faith No More's reknowned future catalog, which naturally leads to wonder what Mr. Mosley has in store for fans coming to his anti-rock party as an alumnus of an enigmatic band changing its own tide over the years from what might've been a one-hit wonder bleep had it not done so.

Never let it be said Chuck Mosley doesn't have a sense of humor. If you're going to title your debut solo album Will Rap Over Hard Rock For Food with the understanding most people remember your voice harrumphing and slugging overtop a breakout (though career killing for Mosley's purposes) rap-metal experiment such as "We Care a Lot," then kudos galore.

Despite the fact Mosley resurrects his claim-to-fame Faith No More cut on Will Rap Over Hard Rock For Food in what rings like an intentionally mopey, slopped-up and outright dumb roast of "We Care a Lot" featuring his old running mate Roddy Bottum, there is far more to this album and to Chuck Mosley than a deliberate goof on the past.

For his return to the rock forum, Chuck Mosley brings aboard an impressive cast of characters on Will Rap Over Hard Rock For Food. The highlight nu-metal-ish track "The Enabler" features Jonathan Davis of Korn and Marilyn Manson/Rob Zombie axer John 5, while Lynard Skynard's Michael Cartellone lays down licks all over the album along with Cleveland's Michael Siefert and Cobra Verde's Tim Parnin.

The tone of Will Rap Over Hard Rock For Food ranges from metal to punk to alt in large, catchy doses. Creatively twining a rhythmic sequence of power chords, a couple of acoustic solilioquies and a wah-fisted solo by Tim Parnin on "Tractor," Mosley casually slips into a Lemonheads and Dead Milkmen-esque alt-punk diddy with "Punk Rock Movie." He might've kicked off his shoes while doing so, it's that relaxed a changeover.

If you're confused at this point where Mosley's direction is headed, forget it. Tapping another Cleveland product (along with Parnin), acoustic sweetheart Leah Lou for "Nameless," you might as well hop on the next cloud drifting into the seventies or at least one dumping you out in Manchester, England circa the nineties. Even Mosley's delivery on "Nameless" is full of breathy cadence next to Leah Lou on a soft yet addictive Sundays-Smiths vehicle which will catch you off-guard and pleasingly so.

Amping up on the head popping "Pile Driver," ripping out a screechy jam session on "Bob Forest" and digging out the surfboard for the slam-diggity hit-and-run jammer "King Arthur's Cousin Ted," Chuck Mosley turns his listeners heads yet again with the Stone Temple Pilots-ish unplugged stoop ode "Sophie." No doubt Mosley took a stab at Scott Weiland ala STP's Tiny Music era here, and not a bad one at that.

While you might've expected an entire album full of compounded aggression or at least jughead verses set to monotonous crunch chord sequences, what Chuck Mosley brings to the table with Will Rap Over Hard Rock For Food is a brave, occasionally nutty yet warm and pleasant surprise filled with diversity and something rare in today's rock music... Fun.

Rating: ****


Metal Mark said...

Actually "We care a lot" was FNM's debut. I think I am supposed to be getting this and I hope I do. I like the Mike Patton era, but I liked the two albums with Mosley too only for different reasons. They were definitely rougher sounding then and maybe even more limited in what they trying, but for the time it sure worked.

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Well, I should clarify Introduce Yourself as a full-length debut. I think you'll enjoy this if you keep an open mind. it's nothing what you're expecting and that's cool by me

Metal Mark said...

We care a lot is a full length. I don't have any real expecatation on Chuck's album other than I hope it will be interesting.

CLS said...

Yeah, Mark is right. The We Care A Lot album was released in 1985, two years before Introduce Yourself. And it's pretty damn good actually - some of its tracks, like As The Worm Turns and Mark Bowen, are still included in their set on the current reunion tour believe it or not.

Anyway, this makes Will Rap Over Hard Rock For Food the third album Chuck has released with We Care A Lot on it. Unless there's another version out there I'm not aware of...!

Still, your review is pretty spot on, it's a wonderful return for Chuck and great to hear that voice intact two decades later. Good work, mate.

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Welp, I've been kinda shoddy with my facts lately, so I'll thank y'all for keeping me honest, and CLS, it's good to see you drop in with nice remarks, which I likewise thank you for.

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