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Primus - Tales From The Punchbowl CD (album) cover




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3.92 | 127 ratings

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5 stars 'Tales from the Punchbowl' is the fourth full length studio album from Primus and the last of the 4 great album run they had. This is also the last album to have Tim Alexander on drums until 7 years later when he rejoined the band. Said by many critics and fans alike, this is one of the band's best albums with some great vintage Primus cuts that are essential for all Primus fans.

Where the previous album 'Pork Soda' was dark and heavy, this album has more of a variety making it more enjoyable to listen to from start to finish, much more along the lines of 'Sailing the Seas of Cheese'. The happiness of the album is apparent from the beginning as soon as the fairground music starts at the beginning of 'Professor Nutbutter's House of Treats' and the upbeat sounds of the crazy quirkiness of Primus' music, not the morose heaviness of the previous album, but with all the punch of wild guitar, bass and drums along with some variation in the overall tone so you are not just getting bogged down with the thick sound all of the time. And, at over 7 minutes, this track has plenty of room to breathe with a long instrumental explosion of swirling guitar.

The mid tempo quirkiness shows through on 'Mrs. Blaileen' and then the hilarious hijinx of the very fast tempo and toe tapping 'Winona's Big Brown Beaver' that later turns into another whirlwind of unrelenting guitar, bass and drums. I don't know how this song just doesn't make everyone happy with its giddy chaotic feel. What else could follow this than the dark and mysterious and heavier 'Southbound Pachyderm'. Even with it's darker sound, it still moves along with a persistent rhythm and many outbursts of guitar which helps build its tension. It's one of my favorite Primus tracks. This is followed by 'Space Farm' a series of barnyard noises against a background of spacey effects and a churning bass, a silly filler material track.

'Year of the Parrot' is a little less memorable, but is a mid-tempo track that has a heavy industrial feel, Primus style. 'Hellbound 17 ' (Theme from)' has that more prehistoric, minimal feel with a pounding drum, plucked bass and guitar with a fast beat, and only a few vocals. It gets crazier as it goes racing along. 'Glass Sandwich' utilizes a quick strummed riff with quick notes later and bowed bass. The vocal melody and bass is more sustained and works well in contrast to the fast moving guitar and drums. 'Del Davis Tree Farm' has another great riff during the heavier chorus with the typical heavy bass and funky, chiming guitars with the complex drumming patterns. 'De Anza Jig' sounds like a polka with the bass sounding like a tuba and a banjo. Such a happy song with plenty of weirdness.

'On the Tweek Again' starts with a solid beat and Les' falsetto The screeching guitar comes in from time to time, but the first few verses is backed by the bass and thumping drum. 'Over the Electric Grapevine' is a great Primus rocker which will get the crowds a jumpin' at the concert with the percussive instrumental section. This ends with a reprise of 'De Anza Jig' under the guise of a track called 'Captain Shiner'

A lot of people think that Primus is weird, but it's their chaotic weirdness that makes them so wonderful. Of course they are inspired by The Residents and King Crimson among others, but they are also extremely talented and have made their style their own. I love their satirical take on everything, and then they surround it with a bare minimum of instruments, but create such a complex explosion of sound and style unlike anything else out there. Primus will always be one of my favorite bands, and for those that wonder, is precisely where I got my 'handle' from. People always ask me what TCat stands for, well, if you are a Primus fan, you should know, but most people just look at me blankly when I mention Primus. That's alright though because their music always makes me happy for whatever reason, mainly because I love their quirkiness and originality. And this is one of their best albums, so how can I not give it 5 stars.

TCat | 5/5 |


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