The only Fantomas record I’ve listened to more than once or twice is the delightful The Director’s Cut. While most of the Fantomas catalog is too inaccessible for even me to enjoy, the band’s second album featured covers of movie soundtrack songs in the way only Mike Patton could.
“Charade” is the final track on the album, and it comes from the 1963 film that starred Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn.
Compare Henry Mancini’s version of the 1963 version …
… To the Fantomas cover nearly 40 years later.
The general framework of the songs are pretty similar except for, you know, the screeching guitars, the general creepiness, the overarching aggressiveness and Patton’s low-to-high-to-screaming vocals. The earlier version was nominated for an Oscar but lost out to Papa’s Delicate Condition. Patton’s version was nominated for nothing.
But it still scored good reviews.
From Pitchfork: “Beginning with a demented samba-beatbox from Patton, ‘Charade’ vacillates between an incredibly smooth, jazzy melody and a spitfire speed-yodel stomp. As the dubbed-in crowd applauds, the melody gently returns with more hyphen-encouraging mayhem. And suddenly, it’s very clear how this will all end: ‘YAD DA DA DADA DA DA DADA YAD DA DADA DA DA DA DADA!’”
NME, meanwhile, called the song “some of the finest moments” on the album. It’s one of the few times a Fantomas track reminded anybody of Faith No More. That makes it a small victory in my eyes.
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