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Primus - Tales From The Punchbowl CD (album) cover




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3.92 | 127 ratings

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4 stars Don't listen to this expecting standard art rock. Lead bass lines (from easily one of the best bassists in the world), either very aggressive or very silly sounding, and the vocals are used for theatrical purposes. The sound is very similar to 80's King Crimson, but unpolished and with a nearly deranged edge. Despite lyrically the songs being just as silly, the songs themselves seem more focused and less experimental resulting in something more listenable. The humor is still a strong factor in the album (which should be apparent from the song title "Wynona's Big Brown Beaver"). The overall combination will still take some getting used to even with a higher level of listenability, but still an excellent listen start to finish.

Stylistically this album is flawless. Primus have managed to capture their crazy muscianmanship focused nonsense that makes them very good and original and package it in a strong hard hitting rock album. It just doesn't have the extra push of a brilliant concept, or perfect flow an album needs to be a masterpiece.

Once again Primus impresses with brilliant and silly instrument acrobatics. They can be described musically as a massive plodding creature with a good sense of humor and flare. The chest shaking bass propelling the band forward, the drums keeping time, and the guitar providing the extra push needed to get moving. Once you start getting into this bands groove it becomes very difficult to focus on anything else.

This album opens with a real bang. "Professor Nutbutter's House Of Treats" provides not only a proper introduction to the album, but is most likely one of the best openers of all time. Every time those drums sticks come down you can feel it all over your body. You can barely hear Les Claypool's strange singing over the loud blare of instruments. "Space Farm" is a strange song, and is the band making animal noises to a simple and depraved bass line. "Captain Shiner" is the only truly weak track, it only manages to be irritating while trying to be an appropriate closer. Which is a shame because it was opened so brilliantly.

This is a great introduction to Primus, and also probably their most "prog" output in the traditional sense. Contains everything a Primus album should, and some nice hooks for the unfortunate uninitiated to get interested in and ultimately discover the rewarding intricacies held within the songs. A must for fans of 80's King Crimson, or big fans of the early nineties alternative movement.

Hangedman | 4/5 |


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