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GREEN NAUGAHYDE

Primus

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Slartibartfast
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Les is more more or less.

The Primus trio band is back. Like all other Les projects there's the bass-driven crazy-vocal music, songs mostly about weird and/or screwed up people. Also, the top notch musicianship all around. Larry Lalond is and has always been a great one to stand up to the intense bass work with his guitar. Jay Lane pulls it all together as well as Brain and Herb did.

Green Naugahyde is basically an album about modern life in this day and age, a loose concept album if you will.

I don't know what the hell a Henypin Crawler is even after studying the lyrics.

The Last Salmon Man is about fish dying off.

Eternal Consumption Engine is about, well you know...

Tragedy's A' Comin' is sort of another take on Trouble Every Day.

"The Eyes Of The Squirrel are watching...Obama Wave His Pecker, At The Infrastructure Wreckers." Whaa???

Jilly's On Smack is probably my favorite. Lalonde gets co-write credits for the music. For some reason, it's probably going to stick in my mind the most. Jilly won't be coming back, but this song will in my head.

Lee Van Cleef. I don't know if Lee ever had his own theme song, well now he does. Let's hear it for the old westerns.

Moron TV, well as they say, the more things change the more they same the same. Another Zappa song update of sorts. I think the Green Ranger is about meth. Hoinfodaman, modern advertising. Extinction Burst, mass murder. Salmon Men, a little reprise to wrap things up.

So basically, if you've heard one Primus album, you've pretty much heard them all. If you haven't you wouldn't do bad to start here. Rounding up.

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Send comments to Slartibartfast (BETA) | Report this review (#553869)
Posted Thursday, October 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars PRIMUS return with another excellent dose of off-beat, Prog flavoured Indie-Funk-Metal bass heavy music. Their first album since 1999's 'Antipop', Green Naugahyde (one guess what colour the vinyls are....) features 13 compositions that capture all aspects and approaches the band have taken over the years - some songs recall Frizzle Fry, Seas of Cheese, Pork Soda and so on, lyrically humourous, musically tight and technical. Intact from the previous line-up are Les Claypool, who still abuses his four strings like no-one else and Larry Lalonde (Ler) who still strums and shreds his guitar in his own peculiar way. Newbie, drummer Jay Lane, whilst not as heavy-handed as Tim Alexander, supplies strong grooves and fine percussive details similar to previous drummer Brain (Brian Mantia). He has actually worked with Les in early incarnations of the band back in the 80's. Second best just will not do. The short opener, 'Prelude To A Crawl', is an instrumental consisting of bass effects and bass soloing that's mysterious in atmosphere, and I wish that Les would've done more of this sort of thing. 'Hennepin Crawler' is an absolute killer track driven by a rather Zeuhl sounding bass - Les really puts on an extraordinary show. His vocals are quirky as always. 'Last Salmon Man' is a longer track that has a solid groove, cool bass and highlights Larry's playing. 'Eternal Consumption Engine' covers their weirdo-goofy angle with loopy vocals, bowed bass and percussive bits and pieces. There's also an edge of darkness involved. 'Tragedy's A'Comin' is the 'commercial' song of the album that has the feel of songs on their 'Brown Album' - some jazzy guitaring from Ler and a funky beat. 'Eyes Of The Squirrel' is very interesting and something different from the guys, in that it's built from a reversed bass loop, repetitive beat, and holds an almost trance-inducing quality. Some spacey sounds break up the mantra towards the end. The longest cut, 'Jilly's On Smack', is a dark and messed-up jam with Les bowing his upright bass and playing plenty of tritones. It tells the tale of a junkie who has overdosed. To cut a long story short, anyone reading this far will have an idea of what to expect. No track could be considered as filler, and there are plenty of surprises along the way as well as the consistencies which are honest in the world of Primus. We all have to wait till near end for 'Extinction Burst' - a ferocious punch-to-the-face of supersonic bass, manic drums and guitar madness. Excellent all 'round.

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Send comments to Tom Ozric (BETA) | Report this review (#586923)
Posted Monday, December 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Les Claypool, the Jaco Pastorius of the Lollapalooza crowd, returns after a long hiatus with another unique collection of highly caffeinated funk rock. It's been twelve years since the last Primus studio album, but Claypool and company pick up right about where they left off, as always sounding not unlike delinquent cousins to RUSH, one of their obvious role models, and stage mates in tours gone by.

Stylistically the album rings true to the Primus tradition. Songs with titles like "Eyes of a Squirrel" and "Jilly's On Smack" could only have come from one band, while "Moron TV" and "Eternal Consumption Engine" sound like ideas left behind by THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION...which makes sense, coming from a trio sounding like Zappa on steroids.

And where else would you hear a tune inspired by spaghetti-western star Lee Van Cleef? ("There's only one Clint", sings Claypool, but "you know I like to see ol' Lee...") A quick digression: apparently Mr. Claypool's taste in film is no less eclectic than his songwriting skills. Among his favorites are movies directed by Stanley Kubrick, Frank Capra, Elia Kazan, Sam Raimi, and Paul Thomas Anderson.

Primus fans will know to expect a lot of narrative non-sequiturs, inside jokes, and virtuoso bass guitar gymnastics (of course). These days Claypool seems to favor a peculiar liquid bass sound (heard best in "Hennepin Crawler", and "Tragedy's a-Comin'"), which makes a good fit alongside the busy precision of returning drummer Jay Lane, who Claypool credits with reinvigorating the dormant band.

My only gripe, and not for the first time with this band, is that the vocals are too low in the mix. Les Claypool's lyrics are typically the most amusing aspect of any Primus album, but his adenoidal drawl can be hard to fathom without a lyric sheet (included, fortunately).

And the music itself is often not as fully realized as on earlier Primus efforts, often resembling experimental jams with added vocals, rather than traditional rock songs (that's a backhanded compliment, by the way). A grumpier listener might accuse the band of falling into a rut; I prefer to regard the new album as a reassertion of their unorthodox musical credentials after being off the grid too long (in pop culture terms: like, forever).

Either way, it's good to have them back, and in fine form, too. Let's hope another twelve years don't pass before their next album.

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Send comments to Neu!mann (BETA) | Report this review (#652414)
Posted Friday, March 09, 2012 | Review Permalink
TCat
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Les and Larry from Primus returned after a leave of absence and was joined by Jay Lane as new drummer. Jay had worked with Les before with other bands and also as a session musician. His drumming style fits right with the quirkiness of Primus' sound and works very well. The sound of the album is reminiscent of the better Primus albums, which is a great thing. The only thing really lacking here is that the vocals are kind of pushed back into the mix and not so upfront as they were before. This can at times give Les' vocals a softer sound. Other than this, it's still the same great Primus sound as before, heavy on the bass, crazy on the guitar and drums, off the wall on the lyrics. That's what we all love about Primus.

We start off with a short introduction and immediately are whisked into the zaniness of the band with the rousing opener "Hennepin Crawler". Immediately we see that Primus has returned, but it's obvious that the vocals are not as up front as before. "Last Salmon Man" is part of the Fisherman's Chronicles and is more of a blues done Primus style song, a lot like the Fisherman's Chronicle song on "Sailing the Seas of Cheese", at least in style, but otherwise it is a song of it's own and one of the standouts on here. "Eternal Consumption Engine" is a cool and whacky sounding song, "Tragedy's a Comin'" is a funky-upbeat extravaganza. Up to this point, the songs don't fail to disappoint.

Next you have "Eyes of the Squirrel" which is a funny way to think of big brother, and the most of the last half of this song moves into space rock territory with it's shift to psycehdelia Primus style. This sound continues and opens up the next track with a different psychedelic sound before the lyrics finally start well into the song. "Extinction Burst" is another great standout track, heavy on the bass, funk, crazy guitar with some whacked out reggae back beat among the chaos, and a cool start-stop instrumental break at the end which develops into a great guitar solo and Primus style jam. The rest of the album follows suit with both great music and a few not so great ones, but overall, it is better than "Antipop" which wasn't bad, just not as good as before.

There isn't a lot of progression in the sound here other than just returning to the quirkiness of before, no real change. As much as I love Primus, it would be nice to have something new and exciting and not always the same sound. Yes they still go off on their usual zany songs and have cool surprises, but overall, it's the same sound as before. I love the sound, yes, but a little more exploration and inventiveness would have made this a 5 star album. Yes it's got the usual progressive sound as before, it just doesn't progress beyond the typical Primus sound. It's still an excellent album though, so 4 stars is what it gets.

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Send comments to TCat (BETA) | Report this review (#1400973)
Posted Sunday, April 19, 2015 | Review Permalink

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