We all love a good bizarre side project, and we all have our favourites. Grunge king Mark Lanegan’s team-up with Belle and Sebastian singer Isobel Campbell, or maybe Robert Plant going all bluegrass with Alison Kraus. How about Probot, Dave Grohl’s love letter to classic rock?
One man, though, likes to go above and beyond when it comes to new ventures. Mike Patton is best known for his work with Faith No More, but has had enough projects to fill a record label. The most well-known of the lot is Mr Bungle, but that’s doing a disservice to the likes of Fantômas, Tomahawk and Peeping Tom. My favourite of the lot, though, is Lovage.
Get this. Patton teams up with Jennifer Charles, singer of the goth-favourite dark-rock act Elysian Fields. Dan The Automator heads it all up and throws Kid Koala into the mix, and together they make one of the most delightfully sleazy albums ever made. Their only release, called Music To Make Love To Your Old Lady By, pairs up Patton’s low growl and Charles’ throaty breath-slurs, all over smooth beats and laid-back grooves, a neo-noir love-making story. Hell, it’s the only album I’ve ever heard that attempts to make truck stops into a sexual innuendo, and god damn it, it nearly pulls it off.
But it’s more than just a novelty. It’s a genuinely fantastic album. The backing tracks are excellent, sampling old recordings and films, giving Lovage an almost Portishead-esque vibe. It’s the kind of album you can just listen to and lose yourself in. Don’t believe me? Well, give this a listen – the frickin’ marvellous Stroker Ace:
Unfortunately it was just a one-off: Jennifer Charles went back to Elysian Fields, Mike Patton continued being bloody brilliant and most recently composed the soundtrack to The Place Beyond The Pines. But we’ll always have this one great moment, a tongue-in-cheek masterpiece, proving that great things can come out of unlikely musical team-ups.