Secret Chiefs 3 (SC3) are in a category all of their own as far as comparisons go. You couldn’t even compare them to Mr Bungle; which is kind of strange because the main man in SC3 – Trey Spruance – is in fact the guitarist/keyboardist with the legendary freaks themselves… Mr Bungle, that is.
Anyway, I guess if I had to go to extremes I would say that SC3 are the same as Mr Bungle in the sense that the song structures can often end up just as chaotic, but that is about it. here you have distorted, demented surf songs, classic eastern-cum-western songs and downright stupidly fantastic aural noisescapes. Wow, that was a mouthful!
Even though I am a huge Bungle fan, I would have to say that my favourite track on Second Grand… is the opening number, ‘The Rose Garden of Mystery’ because it was the most coherent. The artwork is whacky. Just imagine Bungle’s Disco Volante and add more colour. What you’re left with is SC3! Wonderful.
If you’re asking yourself, who the hell is this Trey Spruance guy anyway, or for that matter ‘Who is Mr Bungle’, then the answer is as such: Spruance actually played the guitar parts on Faith No More‘s King for a Day album, but left saying that he wasn’t going to be able to handle the touring commitments. So, then you get the connection between Trey and FNM and in turn, Mr Bungle (whose ranks include FNM’s Mike Patton). Talk about six degrees of separation!
If whacky music is what’s on your agenda, then SC3 and their album Second Grand Constitution and By Laws: Hurqalya is for you. Get it now.
(NOTE: These reviews were originally published in 27twelve: a ‘zine originating in Newcastle Australia in the late 1990s. They’re being published onto the internet now more as a matter of record and whimsical self interest than for any other reason and should be considered as such. Check out the ’1990s’ category of the blog in the coming months for many more 1990s CD and live reviews.)