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Superluminal Pachyderm - Prum CD (album) cover

PRUM

Superluminal Pachyderm

 

Eclectic Prog

3.00 | 1 ratings

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progaeopteryx
Prog Reviewer
3 stars In only three years, Superluminal Pachyderm, the one-man band created by Ken Robinson, released its fourth album under the strangely titled Prum. To give you an idea of the strangeness of Robinson's project, consider that one of the photographs in the insert is that of a can of mandarin oranges being dumped into a toilet. Interestingly enough, this is the first album from this project to feature guests, vocalist Kim Novak, and guitarist Miles Walsh (of Milo Black and Osiris the Rebirth fame), who both perform on the song Hippopotamus.

The album starts off with The Screen Door Collector, which is basically the mutterings of a man who collects screen doors atop a quriky programmed drum beat and dark, spacey keys. In the middle part is a series of what seem like endless "woo-woos" made famous by Jerome "Curly" Howard of Three Stooges fame. A weird song that should put a smile on the faces of those with an odd sense of humor.

Reactive Shampoo follows this, with another odd programmed drum beat where both the bass and snare are echoed. A quirky guitar riff kicks in followed by Robinson's odd processed and distorted, almost spoken vocals evoking images of Popeye, camels, shampoo, cheese-liking Ross Perot and Glenn Seaborg. What?

Next is the first part of Punctuation of the Universe. This one has a very spacey feel to it. The vocals on this one are very crisp, but greatly processed with what seems like random pitch shifts. It's kind of a neat effect.

Another spacey, psychedelic number follows in Hollow Chocolate Bunnies. The piano has an eerie processed feel to it with an industrial drum pattern over top. Overall the song is reminiscent of the eerieness of SP's previous album, Perpetual Insanity. It seems to be about an imbalance in an Easter basket ecosystem where the hollow chocolate bunnies have disappeared. This song is sandwiched in between the first and second parts of Punctuation of the Universe. The second part of this song is in an unusual time signature. It has a catchy rhythm and sounds harder and more energetic than the usual plodding songs SP is known for. An interesting number.

The highlight of the album is the 10-minute song Hippopotamus with Kim Novak taking over on vocals and Miles Walsh providing some excellent guitar work. This one is a really catchy mix of neo prog and space rock. Novak's vocals are both powerful and beautiful (and needless to say, significantly better than Robinson's). As usual, the lyrics make no sense, but the chorus line "hippo, hippoptamus, I know you're out there somewhere, roaming around in my backyard" is priceless. You have to hear this one to believe it.

After the amazing Hippopotamus, the album falls flat on its face as it seems the ideas ran out and the Superluminal Pachyderm ran out of steam. The third part of Punctuation of the Universe seems as if both the music and lyrics were thrown together at the last minute. Admittedly, nonsense lyrics seem like they can be thrown together at any time, but somehow I think the songs preceding this one were carefully thought out. This one seems like a bad idea to fill out the album. This is followed by a short one-minute track where it seems Robinson actually admits that the last song was dumb. I admire an artist that realizes he's wasting his time.

Two Rolls on the Floor has a very quirky beat with an accompanying quirky guitar and bass riff. The vocals are overly processed and seem to overwhlem the song. After awhile this song really starts to get on my nerves. The 15-minute long The Great Big Hug of Life also seems to wear itself out with repetitiveness and very little in variety, generally being a quirky neo prog number. The chorus section sounds like a neo prog band at a country jam. If this song were shorter, it might have been better. It has way too many lyrics in my opinion. The odd psychedelic guitar noodlings during the ending fadeout are much too late to save this song.

Prum is pretty weird, but its not as eerie as the previous two SP albums. It has a more neo prog feel, mixed in with psychedelic/space rock and some industrial leanings and a few symphonic prog moments. I love the first two-thirds of this album, the latter third makes me want to put something else in my CD player.

progaeopteryx | 3/5 |

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