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3 stars my 1st Primus album, and a great one at that. Tim, Larry, and Les (along with many guest musicians, including Tom Waits on the song create a strange mixture of 80's King Crimson, Rush, and a tinge of Zappa to make some rythmic, driving, percussive music, led mostly by Claypool's basslines. Although such a thing may make some songs tedious (Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers), Tim, with his excellent drumming, and Larry's fripp-esque guitar combine to often provide a base for Les's soloing/ basslines.

Although repettitive at times, and those of the older-prog persuasion may find it a bit hard to swallow, listen with an open mind, and you may find a new joy in Primus.

Report this review (#41968)
Posted Sunday, August 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Some of the best bass guitar playing ever recorded is contained on this album. Overall, this album is probably "more progressive" than the previous effort Frizzle Fry. Once again, the musicianship of each member is featured prominently, from Alexander's punchy drums, LaLonde's aharmonic guitar, and of course Les Claypool's simply amazing bass riffing. Heavy bass-and-drums in the vein of RUSH, experimental melodies and harmonies in the vein of KING CRIMSON, and every bit as absurd as the RESIDENTS, and ZAPPA. "Jerry Was A Race Car Driver" and "Tommy the Cat" are based on some of the most intense bass work ever conceived. Les uses all 6 strings of his bass to make some pretty wild sounds in a completely original way. These experimental rants are complemented by a few more straightforward driving songs like "Sgt Baker" and "Those Damned Blue Collar Tweekers". Each song on the record is a gem in its own way. Approach with a cautious ear, and leave some time for it to sink in. It is to be appreciated for originality, musicianship, and for the cartoonish persona that is Les Claypool. But, hey, if you decide its not for you, it's not for you.

If you own just one Primus album, make it this one.

Report this review (#42014)
Posted Monday, August 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As their sophomore studio effort, Primus pulled out all the stops. Les Claypool demands attention with his commanding bass playing and wit as a lyricist.Larry LeLonde plays magnificent searing leads and meaty chords (Claypool as well). Tim Alexander holds the band together with precision and overly intricate drumming. The creative forces combined once again in 1991 and created their breakthrough album, Sailing the Seas of Cheese.

Tracks on the album that are worth mentioning are the opener Here Comes the Bastards, which features an overly simplistic yet catchy riff (in 5/4 if I'm not mistaken). Although the lyrics are not the strong point of the band, they have a sense of quirkiness and wit in them. Sgt. Baker brings up memories of Full Metal Jacket lyrically, Claypool demanding whether you're a "Steer or a qu**r". A steady marching beat and some of the best Claypool vocals are featured in this track. American Life is Claypool's attempt at storytelling in his writing, and it comes off well. With a sprawling bassline, and some great slide work from LeLonde, the song carries on at a pace of its own. Jerry Was a Racecar driver is a track where Claypool dabbles with tapping on a six-string fretless bass. The bassline here is over the top and overly intricat at that. With a great solo by LeLonde, and some powerful bass chugging by Claypool, it really sounds like a car is reving up. Tommy the Cat feautres what is arguably the most difficult Claypool bass performance, with a steady and catchy slap to it. Alexander keeps the entire thing together during the verses, and LeLonde takes control during the instrumental breaks.

OVerall, this is an enjoyable album that is as creative as it is adventurous. There is only one problem in my opinion, the filler tracks that are in between the meatier ones. Regardless, an enjoyable experience. 4.5/5

Report this review (#42033)
Posted Monday, August 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first Primus album I owned, and also their most commercially successful. Seas of Cheese flows really nicely all throughout with a good mix of full length songs and short, silly songs, giving the album a edge that most music is missing. It's hard to call "Grandad's Little Ditty" a true song, but it does keep the listener involved and is short enough to not get annoying. The best tracks on this album are "Fish On," "Eleven," and "Tommy the Cat." "Fish On" starts out with just bass and eventually becomes a full band number, and by the end of the song Les is just doing amazing bass work that is simply amazing. "Eleven" is written in 11/8 time signature, and is the only song I know of with that particular time signature. Because of there being eleven beats per measure, the main riff always has a feel of a note missing at the ending, similar to "Money" by Floyd, except even more extreme with four more beats in a measure. My other favorite, "Tommy the Cat" is also included on Suck on This, but the studio version is better simply because of Tom Waits. His vocals are perfect with the music, and have given me wholehearted respect for the man, who I thought only did blues piano work. "Tommy the Cat" certainly disproves that.

Primus is one of those love it or hate it bands, so I would not buy an album without listening to it before hand. Since this album was their most commercially successful album, it would be a good place to start, un-like Pork Soda, a little too out there for first timers.

Report this review (#42355)
Posted Wednesday, August 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow. This album is simply outstanding! The highlights being Tommy the Cat, Jerry was a Racecar Driver, and Here Come the Bastards. The song Eleven is very unique in the stance that it is the 11/8 time which is very rarely used, not to mention that the song is great. Some songs, ie. Seas of Cheese and Grandad's Little Ditty are not exactly song, but more of filler and are nice additions to the album.

Regardless, if you like crazy music, or are a bass player. Check out this album, definately.


Report this review (#47716)
Posted Wednesday, September 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'm a fan and composer of experimental music, so that tends to color what I enjoy listening to. I don't recommend Primus for anyone and everyone, Les Claypool's whacked out voice is something of an acquired taste, but for those willing to give Primus a try, Seas Of Cheese is an excellent place to start.

The album is more jam-oriented than Frizzle Fry, the weird synthesis of Rush, Zappa, and Crimson in full flower. "Jerry Was A Race Car Driver" broke the band into the mainstream (first Primus song I heard, never get tired of it!) but don't miss the thunderous 5/4 "Here Come The Bastards", the Full Metal Jacket inspired "Sgt. Baker", the funky beatnik rant "Tommy the Cat" (feat. Tom Waits as the title character!), or the sheer nuttiness of "Is It Luck?" One that's always been a personal favorite of mine is "The Eleven", a doomy metal slab -- unique in that it's one of only two rock songs to be written in 11/8 time (the other is by the Grateful Dead, and oddly enough is also called "Eleven").

Claypool's monstrous bass slaps and insane ringmaster delivery are the stars of the show, but due credit must also be given to Tim Alexander's solid drumming (and some really nice fills) and Larry LaLonde's sheets of atonal squalor (the solo he peels off on "Tommy" could give even Mr. Fripp a run for his money).

Some of the shorter tracks do sound like they're just taking up space (one of which finds Claypool singing in the shower), but thankfully none of them overstay their welcome. Fishing themes carry over from Frizzle Fry in the delightfully demented jam "Fish On".

All said and done, a very enjoyable 45 min., and newcomers might prefer it to the more experimental Pork Soda. Again, not for everyone, I'm assuming that if what I've described sounds less than appealing, you aren't reading this far.


Report this review (#47725)
Posted Thursday, September 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is a review I wrote while listening to the album for the first time. I've heard Frizzle Fry and Pork Soda before this (and written reviews for both).

Seas of Cheese is a nice intro, just a little tune with oceanic and boat noises.

Here Come The Bastards is a very heavy track, the riff sounds angry. The riff is really simple and sounds like a modern Black Sabbath riff. The vocals are pretty good on this one, Les does a great job. It ends quite sharply.

Sgt. Baker has a weird intro but then kicks into a really quirky bassline and riff. It amazes me how Primus can just come up with riffs like this. Les does some very powerful vocals on this, some strong yelling. This isn't a song you can tap your foot to though as the tempo is jumping all over the place throughout the whole song. The song doesn't have much to it besides that.

American Life starts out just....INSANE. Insane. This is an intro you will want to listen to over and over because it is definitely one of the most incredible things I have heard done on a bass guitar! Seriously, this rivals the likes of DMV by Primus of course. And Les just does it so flawlessly. I'm not even paying attention to the rest of the song, just listening to that bass. Jeebus cripes! How can one man do this? Maybe he did it once and it's just replayed over and over. I have no clue, but this guy has MASSIVE technical skill. The song really kicks you in the ass around 3 minutes in, it begins to really rock, features a pretty good guitar solo, I think it's Larry LaLonde doing this but Todd Huth did some better work on Frizzle Fry as far as solos go.

Then there's Jerry Was A Race Car Driver which is one of Primus' most well known works. I can't help but think that DMV was a spin-off of this song. It really sounds similar. The basswork (however not as good as on DMV), the verses, the instrumental sections. It really develops into a monster jam for a while in the middle. There is some better guitar work than on any of the songs so far, some pretty good technical noodling. I'm a bit confused as to how this became such a big hit because it doesn't stand out that much for me.

Eleven is madness. It features some really bippy-boppy drums but then this sonic growl of a bass comes thundering in and then the song just collapses into this monster groove. Very heavy. Primus really do get metal at some moments. The riff is definitely not memorable but the fact that it's played very heavy is. There is also a short guitar solo here which is nice but is cut short. Les should have allowed some more guitar solos! This song features some unusual timing and tempos, and like every other song on the album, ends sharply.

JESUS!!! ANOTHER song with absolutely MAD basswork. Is It Luck? is just bogus. Positively nuts. How can someone play this kind of riff? It might have been played slow and then sped up. The song's pace is very fast, as if they were doing a speedy cover of someone else's song. The vocals go wooshing by you and you have some fancy guitar work and some awesome basswork and that's exactly why I love Primus. JUST LISTEN TO THAT! That's unhuman, that bass. That's yet another one of the most amazing things I've heard on the bass guitar. Hey, the song just switched into a quiet guitar beat and some jibberish vocals. That's I guess how Primus makes it onto a progressive website. But then it just jumps back into that original insane groove. There really isn't much to this song, just some great musicianship.

Grandad's Little Ditty is typical Primus! Haha. Just a goofy novelty song thrown in.

Tommy The Cat is famous for being credited as Les Claypool's best work. Regarded by many as some of the best basswork of all time. You can't understand the Tom Waits vocals. It just kind of grooves on as the weird vocals are said. There's a pretty good guitar solo going on. The basswork is average Les until he starts a little solo here. It's really good but it lasts maybe...10 or 15 seconds? I don't know why this is hailed as a bass legend, I haven't heard anything that absolutely blows my mind yet. There's a nice scream by Claypool there at the end. Kind of an overrated song.

Sathington Waltz is something only Primus would do. It's just a slow rambling band jam with some weird instruments. I believe you can hear someone saying "That was nice!" at the very end.

Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers starts with this nice chugga-chug bassline and then kicks in to a nice heavy funk line which is genuine Claypool. Has some nice guitar solos and musicianship. A good song, kind of typical Primus.

Fish On starts with some very melodic bass, almost sound like an acoustic guitar, that's how it's played.The drums start up to reveal a good slower, dark jam. It sounds like the story is about Larry LaLonde, I thought I heard Les just say something about how he was fishing with Larry LaLonde. The concept of having a song span multiple albums through various chapters is very innovative though. I haven't heard of it done before this, so hats off to Primus for that. This is one of the better songs on the album I'd say. There hasn't been any flashy musicianship so far, just a good quality jam. Then it progresses into a faster jam with a rumbling-tumbling, low, barely-audible bassline. Then it progesses yet again to a mid-tempo melody. This is by far their most progressive work I have heard! It's a little quick progressive ballad. A highlight.

The last song is Los Bastardos (which lasts for 2:38 incase anyone needs to know). What a rip off of Frizzle Fry! The last track is like a return to one of the first tracks. Just how on Frizzle Fry, there's To Defy the Laws of Tradition and then To Defy. This is so cheap! It's an exact spin-off of themselves. It's got that angry, thumping riff. It's a nice way to end the album though. It fades in as if it was coming back from Here Come the Bastards.

WHEW. OKAY. OVERALL! This is a good album but definitely not as good as Frizzle Fry. I'd say it's about even with Pork Soda, except Pork Soda has some really great tracks that are some of my favorite Primus and some that are absolutely awful, where as this album is more or less flat. Most of the tracks are pretty good but not fabulous, there are a few that are pretty amazing. However there are no terrible moments that drag the album down. It's good in that sense. But, in my opinion, it lacks a My Name is Mud or DMV or Too Many Puppies or Spaghetti Western moment, a song that truly shines and stands out. Do NOT buy this before Frizzle Fry, which you need to go out and get immediately. Get this if you like Frizzle Fry or Pork Soda. It's a good album and won't dissapoint you but yeah, they have done better. Sorry for the enormous review, by the way. Cheers.

Report this review (#48126)
Posted Friday, September 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars What Primus is doing on the ProgArchives is a bit of a wonder, because however talented was Primus during their first few albums, they had nothing to do with prog. Don't get me wrong here Primus's members are all excellent musicians and the music is certainly not an easy one to play. I believe they rival in virtuosity/dexterity with their obvious mentors The Red Hot Chilli Peppers. They develop a funky hard rock (I would almost say metallic on the energy front) with the same punkish revolt the RHCP did, but also Faith No More and many more Grunge groups that the era provided. The late 80's/early 90's were fertile ground for such talented groups, and personally I like better Primus or RHCP much more than I do the "progressive" groups still active at the time. I mean the era was so poor for progressive music, that I had totally given up and I was exploring 60's jazz and 70's jazz-rock at the time, and when I paid attention to the radio, I was actually quite interested in such group that had the RnR spirit, but with the dexterity to go along with it. Although this album is not quite up to the level of RHCP's Sex Blood Sugar Magick, it is a gem is its type of records, but hardly any progressive. In another site, I probably would have given this album a fourth star, but on the Archives, I can only give it three and that in all honesty, is quite a complement. The next album with its atrocious cover, Pork Soda is of the same vein but not quite as brilliant.
Report this review (#63358)
Posted Friday, January 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Primus is the result of what can a twisted minded guy such as Les Claypool do when set free. Sailing the Seas of Cheese is certainly the most accessible album from the band, for one reasons; SOME of the songs MAY be catchy for SOME people. Still, any bassist without at least one Primus release in his personal collection should be ashamed of themselves. Now let's start talking about the album. After some kind of weird intro, "Here Come The Bastards" starts off. But who are the bastards? Anyway... The song is a good debut. Then, "Sgt. Baker", I don't think you'll stick too much to this song, the bassline can easily get annoying. "American Life" is the first song that I really enjoyed on the album, I really liked the riff. Pick a bass and try to reproduce it; the result (as for most of Primus songs) hours of practice! Then comes "Jerry Was A Racecar Driver", probably Primus' most popular song (one of thoses CATCHY ones). It's an excellent piece and then again the riff will give you headaches if you're a normal bass player! "Eleven" is just some kind of joke, I don't think I ever listened to this song completely... Now open your ears for "Is This Luck?"! Les Claypool is playing a riff so monstrous it seems like he would be eating his bass! Now take a quick shower ( "Grandad's Little Ditty" ) and comeback for the one true Primus masterpiece: "TOMMY THE CAT" Oh my God, this song is amazing! Les Claypool will hypnotize you totally as for the guitarist who's trying to follow Claypool's madness! The lyrics are also pretty humoristic. Let's skip the two following songs and listen to "Fish On", a gentle slow piece that is quite different from the usual Primus songs but still very enjoyable. "Los Bastardos" is just some kind of ending to the album, in fact it's "Here Come The Bastards" played differently... Overall, Sailing the Seas of Cheese is a good release. Certainly the first album you should buy from Primus, then if you like that you can try Frizzle Fry, which is better but less accessible.
Report this review (#75302)
Posted Tuesday, April 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Gave this album another spin today, and wow, I forgot how good these guys were! First, let's get a few facts straight:

1. Les Claypool= Bass God! *second only to Geddy* 2. Ler Lalonde is from the deathmetal band, Posessed, so he has a few quirky....quirks in his playing style 3. Primus is just silly

Okay, that aside, onto the album:

1: Seas of Cheese: Basically an intro track, its Les playing *i believe* a cello or something similar, and singing silly lyrics about well...sailing the seas of cheese. *not gonna rate*/10

2: Here come the Bastards: Funny, stupid, and very repetitive, but hard hitting bassline. Sadly, nothing really develops. 7/10

3:Sgt. Baker: Kinda sounds like weird lounge music at the beginning, with accordian playing VERY faintly in the background, then the song's crazy bassline takes off. Actually decent lyrics from the point of view of a drill sergeant. "RRRRRRight! Left!" will be stuck in your head for days. 10/10

4. American Life: Takes a departure from the strangeness for a calmer song, with Claypool kind of half singing. Catchy bassline and sounds great when the guitar kicks in, and speeds up at the end. 9/10

5. Jerry Was a Racecar Driver: Ah, yes, THE definitive Primus track. Funky jungle beats and one of the most difficult basslines I've ever heard, and an insane guitar solo to boot. 10/10

6. Eleven: This song is in, well, 11/4. Somehow they manage to make it work, with a catchy riff. However, this song suffers yet again from redundancy, with the riff not changing throughout the whole song. Plus the vocals kind of get annoying. 7/10

7. Is it Luck?: CRAZY schizophrenic bassline and fast paced drums. However, possibly a little too crazy, with Claypool screaming like a madman the whole time. Definitely not my favorite, but I must give credit to the bassline. 7/10

8. Grandad's Little Ditty:......basically Les singing w/ his voice's pitch bent down about an octave with shower noise about filler but short and funny *no rating*/10

9. Tommy the Cat: Another funky number, also well known amongst fans. More straightforward as far as guitar playing, and LaLonde belts out some pretty good solos. Strange, spoken vocals, but funny nonetheless. To understand one must actually hear it. 10/10

10. Sathington Waltz: What.....the.....hell?!!? Its just Les tuning up and down his low string on a bass while random banjo notes are plucked and a clarinet fades in and out, all the while Tim "Herb" Alexander is playing drums randomly. Always a good laugh *not rated*/10

11. Thoes Damned Blue Collar Tweekers: Awesome hard rocking track, I think about crystal meth users *what I've heard at least* Good song all the way through 9/10

12. Fish On (Fishermans Chronicles Pt. II) Their most "proggy" piece on the album per se, clocking in at about seven minutes. It also actually progresses, from an eerie slow bassline at the beginning, that goes into an almost military chant type thing *i dont know but i've been told type thing* then, finally, a crazy instrumental section with everyone playing really fast. 10/10

13. Los Bastardos: A reprise of sorts, in the liners you'll notice it's not actually performed by Primus, but by some of their friends. Basically "Here Come the Bastards" but shorter and random people yelling instead of vocals. Pretty funny. 8/10

Sooo. My qualms with this album? Sometimes the songs get a little repetitive, and Claypool's vocals can be annoying to many. However, I find it worth it to overlook these shortcomings for a great album!

12. Fish On (Fishermans Chronicles Pt II)

Report this review (#78529)
Posted Wednesday, May 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I got introduced to Primus with the song "Jerry Was a Racecar Driver" in 1999 while playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1. The song was featured in the soundtrack and I loved it! I was about to buy this album a couple of years back because of that song, but I bought King Crimson's "Lark's Tongues In Aspic" instead. However, I picked this one up earlier this year, and I must say It's excellent.

Primus are a very talented band. Les Claypool's bass riff's and playing still amazes me, and his weird voice fits Primus' music well. Larry LaLonde's guitar work is great and Tim Alexander's drumming is brilliant. They may sound a bit repetitive sometimes, and that's why I give this one 4 instead of 4.5/5 stars.

Many great songs on this one: Here Come The Bastards, Jerry Was a Racecar Driver, Eleven, Tommy The Cat, Fish On are my favorites. The other ones are very good too, though some of them could have been a bit better.

Overall, excellent release! Could have been a bit better, but I still recommend it!

Report this review (#81813)
Posted Friday, June 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars What do you get when you combine the technical prowess of Rush, the funk of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the loose jamming of the Grateful Dead or Phish, and the mad lyrics of Frank Zappa. You get none other than one of the most important musicians of the last two decades, Mr. Les Claypool. Primus sits it the prog-related genre, but they should really be in prog metal. Sailing the Seas of Cheese is Primus' second album, and Claypool envisioned it as an album in the prog sense, to be listened all the way through. Not to say the album is without strong individual songs. "Tommy the Cat" is a tour-de-force of rhythm instruments, with Claypool pummeling his bass and the very progressive Berklee grad Tim Alexander laying down a fantastic beat. Tom Waits guest stars as Tommy. "Sgt. Baker" sounds like the first 40 minutes of Full Metal Jacket condensed to a song. "Jerry Was A Racecar Driver" is the hilarious ode to an amateur racer who ends his career when he drunkenly plows his car into a pole. "Those Damned Blue Collar Tweekers" has an eerie electronic effect similar to those used by Faith No More on their Angel Dust album.

My advice: though it's tempting to listen to Jerry and Tommy the Cat, listen to the album as a whole and revel in this mad masterpiece.

Grade: B

Report this review (#100349)
Posted Saturday, November 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Primus is a very hard band to classify. Incorporating elements from a mixture of genres ranging from funk to thrash metal, the three-piece band write some very eclectic, quirky and catchy songs. For anyone looking to explore their works, this album is the place to start.

Their second studio album builds on the work of "Frizzle Fry", and like their debut, this is a great collection of fun, and often humourous songs which pre-dates the darker material of the follow up album "Pork Soda". Claypool has a knack for penning oddball lyrics, but they don't detract from the songs at all. Similarly many people have problems with his vocals, but personally I think that they really suit the music.

The line up is on top form here. Claypool often incorporates slapping techniques into his bass playing, making for some very funky sounds. "Tommy the Cat" is a great example of this, and a brilliant bass performance. There are many fantastic basslines to be found on this album. Tim Alexander's drumming is the perfect compliment to Claypool's bass playing, and guitarist Larry LaLonde doesn't attempt to steal the limelight, instead offering layers of angular and dissonant sounds which make for an interesting listen.

There are many stand-out songs, but particularly the aforementioned "Tommy the Cat", "Jerry was a Racecar Driver", "Those Damned Blue Collar Tweekers" and "Fish On" are all excellent.

Five stars. A must for any Primus fan or aspiring bass player.

Report this review (#100883)
Posted Tuesday, November 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars sailing ... is one of the best in primus collection , i would not call this prog in 100% BUT it is very proffesional , it is prog to me because it is interesting all the way. the musicianship is absolutely amazing!! you should check out "tommy the cat" definetly one of the best bands i know, and i hope they will honur us with another album! if you liked this one don't stop you will like the rest for sure! i would like to give it a 5 star rating but to be totaly fair to other albums i would have to give this 4 stars, but they are very big stars!
Report this review (#100934)
Posted Wednesday, November 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars My introduction to Primus, and it is my favorite album by them. I love this album, and the best thing about it: Les Claypool. Without doubt, he is one of the best bass players I have ever heard. Besides his stringy, psychadellic like bass playing, he throws out some unusual vocals, but they are entirely tolerable.

Another great aspect of this CD is every member is that each member is talented, and you they all contribute to the sound, yet you can distinctly hear each one. Larry LaLonde has some great guitar work, and puts some out almost thrash metal solos. However, the guitar is not the focal of this band. It is merely background to Claypool's bass, and of course puts out some nice solos. Tim Alexander does not do anything overally impressive, but he keeps everything smooth, and shows some serious talent.

Jerry the Race Car Driver is my favorite song from the album. It is funny, catchy song and, I think, displays each members skill the best. Also, it features my favorite guitar solo on the CD. Tommy the Cat is another great one. Very weird vocals, but amazing bass playing and there are some pretty good solos, (and Claypool puts a nice background to it). Is it Luck, Here Come the Bastards, American Life, and Sgt. Baker are other standouts. However, while none of the other songs dissapoint, they don't do much for me either.

Overall, a great album, and if you like music that'll give you a laugh sometimes this is it. I would recommend it for anyone who likes serious bass playing, weird music, and even some metal fans. If you can get past the odd vocals, I think this a CD you will love.

4 stars

Report this review (#118418)
Posted Saturday, April 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars A great discovery is Primus! I started exploring their musical universe by this album and I like it very much. What I specially like of the band is the unique sound it has: crunchy production, creative, very well thought excellent 'in your face' bass lines and riffs, going from Funk to a very Metal sound, a not so hearable, (nothing exceptional, really) guitar since Les' bass is in front of it all, that provides occassional solos, and very, and I say VERY good groovy drums; AND the crazy vocals of Claypol. The rhythm section is one of the greatest I've heard on Rock (not counting the Jazz Rock / Fusion genre hehe): tremendous slappy bass playing and groovy, extremely accurate drumming. To me Pimus is a very rhythmical band and has many similarities with the Metal genre despite there's not an overdistorted guitar 'in your face', in fact, as I said before, the great bass of Les is in front of the band. Also, it's no coincidence that I found myself headbanging to some songs. All the tracks here seem to be composed around a very good bass riff (some of them incredibly good), even using odd time signatures; but, as I stated before, the rhythm section carries all the band's talent. The songs that stand out here, to me are: the opener "Here Come The Bastards" is a discharge of adrenaline, with an outstanding simple 5/4 bas riff; "Sgt. Baker" found me headbanging hard saying "Right! Left!"; "American Life" is also pretty intense, as well as the catchy "Jerry Was A Racecar Driver", "Tommy The Cat" (which features very odd vocals and one of the most intrincated bass work I have ever heard), "Eleven", with its 11/8 riff!, the incredible "Fish On" with its simple but mindblowing riff... wait... all of it is great!! You must hear it as a whole to experience this unique band!

Overall, an unique band with unique sound, and this disc is excellent that served to me as a nice introduction. Pay special attention to the bass and drums, it's sooooo good. The bass work of Les is one of the most original and creative efforts I've heard so far. INTENSE: that is the word to describe the album. This disc would be one of those 'how to make a riff' demonstration, it's outstanding! Very, very recommendable!!

Rating: 4.1/5

Report this review (#123861)
Posted Tuesday, May 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars PRIMUS are one of those hard bands to catagorise, one of those acts that against all odds manages to create music so unique and distinct as to defy proper classification and here we see this band at their creative peak.

For those who don't know PRIMUS is fronted by eccentric vocalist and bass guitarist Les Claypool - a renowned and undeniably talented bassist who fuses the influences of rock funk and occasionally metal into his creations as is well evidenced here, think of a combination between RUSH, FUNKADELIC and FAITH NO MORE. Not to detract from the other band members here as while the bass is often the focus of the music they contribute enormously. Guitarist Larry 'Ler' LaLonde is no slouch LaLonde played with Claypool in an early thrash band 'BLIND ILLUSION', and was a key member in thrash/death metal band POSSESSED (widely regarded as the first death metal band ever) as well as studying under guitar guru Joe Satriani - LaLonde is just as innovative as Claypool with his subtle dissonant, minimalist guitar, it fits in perfectly with Claypool's bass up front and always contributes something interesting. Tim 'Herb' Alexander contributes a lot of my favourite moments on this album with his tight technical well considered drumming.

Sailing the seas of cheese features some of the highlights of PRIMUS' catalog, my particular favourite is Sgt. Baker featuring PRIMUS trademark tight and angular riffage, the song contains some great stop start rhythms and a surprisingly heavy breakdown section which is in my opinion the greatest moment of the album with Alexander on fire with some great double kick triplets and syncopation. 'Jerry was a race car driver' is perhaps PRIMUS' most well known song and received substantial airplay in the 90's and amazingly for a single it's surprisingly good, it has some nice grooves and some tantalizing heavy parts and is a superbly written song. Another top moment is the song 'is it luck' Claypool's bass work is fast and frenetic and amazingly technical, very pacy and aggressive for PRIMUS.

Overall the picture that is painted on this album is slightly reminiscent of that 'weird' uncle you have, strangely lyrical, telling strange stories, a fine sense of humour and just genuinely odd. While it's definately not for everyone, some may be put off by the unconventional approach especially to instrumentation and Claypool's vocals take a bit of getting used to. Highly Recommended to fans of odd, funky, 90's music such as FAITH NO MORE and MR BUNGLE.

Report this review (#140944)
Posted Saturday, September 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is soooooo American 90's...

PRIMUS is one of those bands able both to amuse me and annoy me at the same time. Let's start with the things that annoy me: the vocals. The vocal delivery, the overall attitude and the southern accent. Those annoying recited verses, ugh. There's a hint or two of THE RESIDENTS in both vocals and melodies, but the RESIDENTS' vocals are not annoying to me for some reason.

As far as the music goes, this is (more or less) furious funky rock wrapped in some avant/metal package. You can replace the word metal with the word grunge or perhaps punk, however, it's quite noisy. And that's the description of the music: it suits indie / alter tag very well, in fact, it would fit nicely with any of the AmRep artists: MELVINS, HELMET, KILLDOZER or perhaps THE JESUS LIZARD: dry drums, crispy, compressed guitars and guttural, grinding bass. Vocals in your face. With the emphasis on bass, of course. I don't think Mr. Claypool's ultra-fast technique is outstanding, but his ability to make different timbres certainly is. As I said in the title, this one is absolutely 90's. This record made me realize nineties weren't that revolutionary after all; from today, 2008 perspective, it was a logical continuation of the 80's, in any musical subgenre, from electronic dance music to PRIMUS (hm...PIXIES anyone?).

So, where's prog rock in that picture?

Oh, who cares? If you really want: I already mentioned THE RESIDENTS. There's hint or two of ZAPPA or CAPTAIN BEEFHEART, but more in my overall impression than something I could pin down. A few compound time-signatures and tempo changes, but executed more in grungy than prog way of playing (let's add an extra bar!). Guitar is somewhat fripp-esque, sometimes punkish, often nervous, always angular.

Regardless of prog or non-prog tag, this one is worth checking although it might require some time to digest.

Report this review (#158092)
Posted Tuesday, January 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars If you're looking for the best bass-related album that isn't full-blown prog, this is the one.

At the risk of sounding terribly obvious, Primus is the type of band that best fits in the "acquired taste" category. Some people enjoy them a bit, some like them a lot, and some don't like them at all. I happen to fit in the second category, although this could be due to the fact that I'm a bassist myself and can't resist a really good bass riff. And believe me, this album is chock full of some of the best bass riffs I've ever heard. Les Claypool in my opinion belongs right up with the likes of some of the best classic prog bassists such as Squire and Rutherford for what he's done with the bass guitar.

Almost all of the tracks are catchy without them becoming cheesy (pun intended); the instrumentation is very tight, with powerful and very explosive bass riffs. The drumming is superb and the use of guitar in a more atmospheric sense with the bass taking the lead the majority of the time is quite interesting in theory and works well in practice for this band. If you want to know what the band sounds like, comparing them to a mix of the driving rhythms of Rush, the eclecticism of King Crimson, and the zaniness found in many RIO and avant-garde bands isn't too far off. Some of the highlights found here include: Here Come the Bastards, American Life, Jerry Was a Race Car Driver, Eleven, Is It Luck?, Tommy the Cat, and Fish On. A few of the songs are a bit repetitive, but overall the musicianship more than makes up for it. Claypool's voice also probably isn't one that can be tolerated by everyone, but it will take repeated listens to tell whether or not you like it. This album however is well worth the patience and effort it may take. For my standards, this is easily 5 stars, and except for the two reasons I mentioned before, I can't think of a really strong reason to give this anything other than 5 stars. If you want something that's different from your everyday batch of Genesis or like the sound of a rhythm-driven band with monster bass riffs, this album is an essential acquisition.

Report this review (#199597)
Posted Saturday, January 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars Much better than the debut in my opinion.That annoying RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS flavour is gone and this is much more consistant, all the songs are really good. Just the thought of a sea of cheese is just gross though (haha). The music is catchy yet at the same time i'm listening intently to the "lights out" bass, guitar and drum work. Incredibly talented musicians.

"Seas Of Cheese" is a short intro that sounds like an out-take from "The Wall. "Here Come The Bastards" is about the In-Laws coming over for dinner. Kidding ! This has a catchy rhythm with vocals. Killer tune. "SGT. Baker" is funny lyrically. It opens with sounds coming and going then kicks in with the bass and vocals standing out.The bass is so good. "American Life" is more laid back but you know it's going to explode any second. Love the guitar after 3 1/2 minutes as it grinds away. Hey it didn't explode ! Intense anyway. "Jerry Was A Race Car Driver" is catchy as usual and the guitar is amazing 2 minutes in. "Eleven" has to be a top three for me. It opens with drums as guitar joins in followed by vocals and a full sound. How good is this when the guitar comes back in. Vocal melodies come and go.

"Is It Luck ?" features some impressive bass and guitar. The vocals are fast paced. "Grandad's Little Ditty" is a short piece with someone singing in the shower. "Tommy The Cat" is another top three. Tom Waits adds vocals here. The bass is something else. Ripping guitar 2 minutes in as it picks up. "Sathington Waltz" is a very cool instrumental. Sounds pulse and throb to start out on "Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers". Vocals join in then it kicks in as contrasts continue. Amazing tune, love the guitar. In fact this is the other top three for me. Check out the bass and drums 3 1/2 minutes in. "Fish (Fisherman Chronicles, Chapter II)" is laid back until the drums and vocals arrive before 1 1/2 minutes. The guitar is making some noise. We get quite the instrumental display 5 minutes in when it picks up.

It would have been cool to see these guys open for RUSH as they did back in the nineties. A very entertaining album.

Report this review (#282879)
Posted Friday, May 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars If anyone still has misgivings about Primus being included on this site, they should pick up a copy of this album. Sure it's loaded with punk sensibilities (hey, do those words belong together?), but it also has Larry LaLonde's wild, disjointed guitar riffs, Les Claypool's even wilder bass hammering, and the pride of every prog fan: exotic time signatures. Yes, on this album, you will hear songs in 5, 7 and even the dreaded 11 (in a song called Eleven).

Highlights on this album include the hilarious Sgt. Baker, about a marine drill sergeant, and the hits, Jerry Was A Race Car Driver and Tommy The Cat, the latter is not as good as the original live version on "Suck On This", but it does have the benefit of a guest appearance by Tom Waits.

Report this review (#331610)
Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Primus' Sailing the Seas of Cheese showcases the funky bass and eccentric, off the wall vocals of Les Claypool. Combine this with the band's general love of experimentation and yuou end up with a credible contribution to avant-garde alt-metal. The schtick doesn't quite last the full running time of the album - it isn't quite as varied as, say, Mr Bungle's material, and whilst the band regularly aim for a funky, hypnotic groove sometimes it falls flat and they just sound dull and repetitive. But these are occasional stumbles on an otherwise entertaining album which manages to walk the careful tightrope of introducing a general audience to Primus' unique sound without compromising that sound in the process.
Report this review (#981004)
Posted Tuesday, June 18, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars Not these guys again...

There was a time in my youth when I'd have loved the quirkiness of a band like Primus. With their obscure sense of humour and their blend of rock and funk, there's truly no other band like them. But what makes them so unique is also what pretty much puts so many people off of them.

And to put it bluntly, it's mostly boring self-indulgence.

While the musicians themselves are all incredibly talented, and certainly adept at thinking outside the box, the music itself is very hard to follow, and definitely requires the listener to be equally open-minded. There's very little singing, with vocalist Les Claypool preferring more of a spoken-word type of vocal style, and a lot of the music itself tends to plod along with no real melodies sticking out. As a whole, it's just a complete mess.

If I had to pick out some highlights, it'd have to be 'Tommy the Cat' and 'Jerry Was a Race Car Driver', most probably because these are the notable singles from the album, and while they do have some infectious grooves in the music, as per usual with this band, the spoken babble that is the lyrics kind of ruins them.

I'm sure there was a time when I loved this band, especially as I seem to recall asking for some of their albums as Christmas and Birthday presents in my early twenties. But I listen to 'Sailing the Seas of Cheese' now and it bores the life out of me. Primus really are in a league all of their own when it comes to "keeping an open mind", sadly, it's just not a very good one.

Report this review (#1786892)
Posted Monday, September 25, 2017 | Review Permalink

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