Primus – Green Naugahyde
I’ve always loved Primus, particularly the “Tales from the Punchbowl”, “Pork Soda” and “Sailing the Seas of Cheese” era. However, even the most diehard fan would have to admit that their last few albums were missing something and even the various side projects Les Claypool has been involved in, while good, have also been missing that little something special. On classic songs like “Tommy the Cat”, Winona’s Got a Big Brown Beaver” and “Mr. Krinkle”, there was a sense of playfulness that countered the complexity of the music which was missing on their later releases.
Now back with their seventh studio album, their first album since 1999’s “Antipop.” The album features Claypool along with long time guitarist Larry “Ler” LaLonde and drummer Jay Lane, who was an early member of Primus for a short spell in 1988. With the disappointment of their last few releases, as well as the material on the “June 2010 Rehearsal” EP released last year, I was a little apprehensive about this record and in truth, I didn’t expect much. However, now that I’ve finally heard the album, I’m actually pretty impressed. The music is fun, with that classic funk/metal style they’ve mastered in full swing. Claypool has said that having Lane back in the lineup has energized the band and made Primus fun again.
I’ve listened to this pretty much continuously since I got it and each time, I hear something new and different. The songs are complex but are not overdone and Les Claypool’s lyrics are always funny and when he’s commenting on society, he’s always on point. Songs like “Hennepin Crawler” and “Lee Van Cleef” are probably the best ones here, but overall, there isn’t really a standout track. Regardless though, this is a great record and it puts Primus back to the top as one of the most original and creative bands out there.