Mike Patton - Mondo Cane
Musically, there's not much ground that Mike Patton hasn't covered, and yet it was with a pang of delicious surprise that we welcomed the news of Mondo Cane: an ambitious project to reinterpret '50s & '60s Italian pop songs with the backing of a 30-piece orchestra and choir. On paper that conceit may sound overwrought, and while Patton's bombast pitches into histrionics on a few occasions there is for the most part a delightful lightness of touch to both the arrangements and Patton's extraordinary Italian-language performance.
By turns uproarious and moving (and often both at once), Patton's gift for invoking this kind of delirious technicolour madness has rarely sounded as good as it does when pinioned by such glorious pop hooks. Mondo Cane is a rare achievement – an adventurous reinterpretation of timeless oldies which will no doubt serve as a rapturous soundtrack to the heady summer months. [Mark Shukla]