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RHINOPLASTY

Primus

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Cygnus X-2
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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Much like the previous cover album Rhinoplasty has Primus paying tribute to the artists that inspired them and for the most part I enjoy this incarnation a lot more than Miscellaneous Debris, which was too short and the song selection was mostly underwhelming (despite two great songs in Intruder and Have a Cigar). This album is a lot more rounded out and has a lot more memorable pieces than the previous effort and is a lot more satisfying as well. The variance in material and the artists presented is quite nice and the variety of the style of pieces themselves is also terrific, you get everything from Metallica to The Police in one convenient little package. On top of all those covers are three Primus songs, two live songs and one reworking, but more on that when the time comes.

The album opens with the XTC song Scissor Man, which for the most part is an enjoyable song with some nonsensical vocals from Claypool as well as some great arpeggio based guitar themes from LeLonde. A fun piece and really opens the album nicely (and it's a lot better than the XTC cover on Miscellaneous Debris). Next is The Family and The Fishing Net, from Peter Gabriel's fourth studio album. Claypool replicates that Tony Levin bass sound very well and LeLonde performs the guitar material quite well and Mantia fits as a Jerry Marotta type drummer to begin with so his drumming is good as well. Like with Intruder, Claypool gives a trying effort on vocals but in the end he doesn't really compare to the original Gabriel performance. Silly Putty is a Stanley Clarke piece that has some great lead playing from Claypool and a fun chord progression as well as DJ Disk getting a spin or two, which is very interesting for this piece. Great instrumental. Amos Moses is probably my least favorite song on the album. It isn't particularly interesting and the overall feel isn't that great to begin with. Behind My Camel is an instrumental written by The Police and was featured on their Zenyatta Mondatta album. Although while not as great as the original version, this is a great effort on the whole. Claypool and Mantia get into a nice groove a la Copeland/Sting and LeLonde's guitar tones are similar to that of Andy Summers and the playing is spot on.

Next is a reworking of the song Too Many Puppies off of Frizzle Fry, which is in my opinion a worthless song. It doesn't prove of any use, except that Primus was willing to experiment with a completely different arrangement of a good piece to begin with (although Claypool's bass sound is pretty cool). The Thing that Should Not Be is a Metallica song that hails on Master of Puppets. The version here is pretty cool because it gives the listener a clue on what Claypool would have sounded like had be been selected to be in Metallica after Cliff Burton died (he was rejected because of his lead oriented and funky style). The final two songs on the album are live tracks of Tommy the Cat and Bob's Party Time Lounge. Tommy the Cat has always been a fantastic song live, and this version is no different, especially because of the Mantia drum solo in the middle and Claypool's fantastic bass interplay. Bob's Party Time Lounge was one of the better pieces off of the disappointing Brown Album and here the extension pays off well with some great extended instrumental interludes.

In the end, Rhinoplasty should only really be bought by people who know who Primus are and have at least listened to a few of their albums. It's definitely not for everyone, but if you like covers then you might find some enjoyment out of this eclectic lot. Not a masterpiece by far, but not a complete disappointment, somewhere in the middle. 3/5.

Report this review (#85813)
Posted Friday, August 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Primus pays tribute to their musical heroes on this 1998 EP release. Like 1992's EP Miscellaneous Debris, this album contains mostly cover songs, which run the gamut from post-punk to countryto jazz-funk to metal. Fun is the operative word here as in Les, Ler, and Brain had a lot of fun making this EP, not to mention that it is just plain fun to listen to.

"Scissor Man" gets a textbook reading by Les and the boys. The manic feel of the original is well-preserved. These guys do XTC songs really well, and I would love to hear Primus cover "Real by Reel" someday. Peter Gabriel's "The Family and the Fishing Net" also gets a textbook reading. The highly textured and ethereal feel of the original is redone with perhaps a bit more oomph in the bass and drums. "Silly Putty" and "Amos Moses" are not quite as textbook, but they still do the originals proud. "Behind My Camel" is perhaps the most spot on of all the covers on Rhinoplasty. Ler LaLonde vividly recreates Andy Summers' arid sonic portrait.

Primus covers Primus with "Too Many Puppies". This version is quite different from the original. It's as if the goal was to rework the song in such a way as it would assuredly somehow fit in with the other covers, particularly "The Family and the Fishing Net" with which it shares a similar feel. Next up is a bone-crushing version of "The Thing That Should Not Be". Having seen Primus live a number of times and heard them cover songs like "Thieves" onstage, metal seems like old hat to them.

The last two tracks of Rhinoplasty were recorded live at their New Year's Eve show in San Francisco. "Tommy the Cat" is a rippin' tune, and this live version features some fantastic drum & bass with Brain and Les. "Bob's Party Time Lounge", one of my favorites off the Brown Album, is a fitting end to the EP with it's homage to all things party time such as champagne and imported beer. It's not really the end. There is actually one more tune, a cover version of a a famous Charlie Daniels song complete with a hilarious Quicktime video.

If you were ever curious about what makes Primus tick as band, you certainly get a glimpse of it on Rhinoplasty. These guys certainly do not take themselves too seriously, but they do take their inluences and their cover songs seriously. However, in the end it's all about fun, and that's what Rhinoplasty is really all about.

Report this review (#133927)
Posted Monday, August 20, 2007 | Review Permalink

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