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Primus Pork Soda album cover
3.34 | 133 ratings | 16 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1993

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Pork Chop's Little Ditty (0:21)
2. My Name Is Mud (4:46)
3. Welcome To This World (3:40)
4. Bob (4:40)
5. DMV (4:58)
6. Ol' Diamondback Sturgeon (Fisherman's Chronicles, Pt. 3) (4:40)
7. Nature Boy (5:33)
8. Wounded Knee (2:25)
9. Pork Soda (2:20)
10. The Pressman (5:11)
11. Mr. Krinkle (5:27)
12. The Air Is Getting Slippery (2:31)
13. Hamburger Train (8:11)
14. Pork Chop's Little Ditty (1:03)
15. Hail Santa (1:50)

Total time 57:36

Line-up / Musicians

- Les Claypool / vocals, bass, mandolin
- Larry LaLonde / guitar, 6-string banjo
- Tim "Herb" Alexander / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Paul Haggard

CD Interscope Records ‎- 7 92257-2 (1993, US)
CD Interscope Records ‎- INTD-92257 (2005, US)

2xLP Prawn Song ‎- 772738-1 (1993, US)
2xLP Plain Recordings ‎- plain133 (2009, US)

Thanks to Retrovertigo for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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PRIMUS Pork Soda ratings distribution

(133 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (30%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

PRIMUS Pork Soda reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Regardless of whether Primus are indeed progressive are not, since they are here, I will review them. Pork Soda is the studio album that followed their massively successful Sailing the Seas of Cheese. Les Claypool and co. are at their creative best on this one, creating moody, upbeat, and chaotic tones (mostly instrumental) within a cohesive structure. Les Claypool plays intricate and overly catchy beats, while Larry LeLonde provides sprawling guitar and muddy chords, and also while Tim Alexander provides a very solid and very disciplined drum effort.

The opener, Pork Chop's Little Ditty, resembles an Irish jig with stamping feet and fun mandolin, 40 seconds later, the albums first real track is played. My Name is Mud, the first single off of this album, begins with a jumpy bassline. The lyrics are about a Serial Killer whose name is Mud, but wishes to be called Allowishus. LeLonde's guitar on this one is a very muddy (no pun intended) sound that stomps along with Claypool's steady beat. Other tracks worth mentioning are DMV, which features another sprawling Claypool bassline, but lackluster lyrics. Thankfully, the music overpowers the lyrics and makes the song an enjoyable experience. Wounded Knee is among the many instrumentals in the album. What sets this one apart is the fabulous percussion that goes along with Alexander's fabulous drumming. The Pressman begins slowly, with a quiet Claypool bassline. This song has among the best lyrics on the album, and features one of the catchiest riffs they've ever done. Mr. Krinkle is a showcase spot for Claypool and his wonderful double bass work. The song has a very dreary feel thanks to the bass, along with a bizarre guitar line, and some precision drumming, it's among the best tracks of the album. The final track worth mentioning is the longest track on the album, Hamburger Train. This instrumental features a powerful chugging bassline from Claypool, some spot on and intricate drumming from Alexander, and some powerful guitar work from LeLonde.

Overall, I feel that this is a very creative album, regardless of it being progressive or not. Primus are a very unique brand of music, one that cannot be copied thanks to the bombastic and commanding bass lines from Claypool. The only faults to this album are mediocre lyrics, which are meant to be playful and quirky (in the same light as Adrian Belew), but come off as silly and overdone. The vocals are also a tad on the weak side. Claypool is able to put his message across, but is not a particularly strong vocalist. It's veryt fun and adventerous music. 3.5/5.

Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Prog Nada

This is not a Progressive Rock album, but for 1993 it was certainly one that stood out from the pack. Essentially based in the Funk metal explosion led by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and, to a slightly lesser extent, Jane's Addiction, Primus were, at the time of this album, going for broke on the experimental and wackiness scale, but siting the root of the music firmly in the established paths without breaking any new ground, being technically challenged and compositionally almost void of ideas, especially on where to take the music. Formally, there's nothing here that hadn't already been exploited by the Happy Mondays.

Where they had ideas was in how to make the music sound more wacky - it's all about the timbre and rhythm. Timbre-wise, in places, you might be forgiven for thinking you're listening to a funked-up '80s period King Crimson without the technical ability.

"Pork Chop's Little Ditty". Well, little is right. It starts about 10 seconds into the 21-second track, and when it does, it's a badly played mandolin and derivative - a vague attempt to produce something folky sounding without a clear understanding of the type of music they were trying to represent. I guess the point is to set a light hearted and thin sound from which to drop into the funky bass riff of "My Name is Mud".

"My Name is Mud" is entertaining enough, and has a great bass riff and sound, Anthony Keidis style rapping with fun guitars - but nothing Syd Barrett didn't do 2 and a half decades previously on the guitar. Here is one point at which I'm vaguely reminded of something from "Discipline", musically speaking - although there is absolutely no evolution of the music - once you've heard the first 30 seconds or so, you've heard the entire song. The ending goes on a bit.

"Welcome To This World" starts with the guitar and goes into a kind of chicken style before the inevitable heavy and funky riff kicks in. This one is a bit more complex than in "My Name is Mud", and quite cool really - but the frequent starts and stops are annoying, especially since the music again refuses to develop into anything or reveal anything in it's layers. A tall order really, since there are no depths - it's all surface. Nice, shiny and funky surface - very enjoyable with nice little details - but surface nonetheless and ultimately unsatisfying.

"Bob" begins with a nice flanged bass, and I really can't help thinking of Flea here, even though the style is subtly different. It's a bit like the Chili's slowed down and gone a bit wrong. Interesting, but even the wierd and slightly stodgy changes don't prevent this from having a standard rock song structure. There's still too much repetition - not enough melodic and harmonic development - to be progressive. It's just a bunch of guys having fun, and playing within the safety of existing musical forms and coming up with something that sounds a bit different - but not prog.

This album pans out in the same formulaic lines. The next time we hear anything outside of the formula "Funky bass, Funky Drums, Rap, Guitar noise using intro / verse / chorus / verse / chorus / bridge / verse / chorus /outro bog standard structure" is "Ol' Diamondback Sturgeon (Fisherman's Chronicles, Pt. 3)", in which a single bass riff is used, with guitar improv over the top - a psychedelic/garage approach with no development, just a droning repetition at heart. Minimalism for dummies really, and quite poorly executed.

"Nature Boy" is a return to the safe song form of earlier - no change in style whatsoever, as we might expect from prog. I find it "cool" for the first few bars, but the repetition quickly makes the initial impact fade, and it quickly becomes tired and boring until relief around 2:40, with a welcome change back to the psychedelic jam style that rapidly runs out of ideas and flounders around before predictably returning to the opening ideas, albeit slightly jammed.

"Wounded Knee" starts extremely promisingly with tinkly chimes, xylophone and vibraphone ideas giving a flavour of Gong - particularly the latter part of "Angel's Egg", but without the musical development, as we might expect by now.

The title track is clearly an attempt to be very wierd, but once you've got past the sliding bass lines and precision drums, with plinky guitar, it's all repetition and no development. No progression. No hidden depths.

The repetitive intro to "The Pressman" lets us know exactly what we're in for. Another psychedelia/garage style jam track.

"Hamburger Train" at a little over 8 minutes is what I was looking forward to when I began the review - the length alone had prog promise. But it's just a jam around a bass riff that begins enjoyably and quickly becomes very old.

There are no real surprises to come in any of the other tracks. "Pork Chop's Little Ditty" is a longer and even more poorly executed attempt at a folkish-sounding mandolin piece, and the other tracks do not stand out from the other material.

Fans of Primus will probably lap this up - but for prog, look elsewhere.

Review by frenchie
1 stars Absolutely hideous and mind numbingly repetitive music. Every bloody song has the same grinchy basslines and drum patterns. The vocals are flat and uninteresting. There is absolutely no effort or emotion but into the music. Artists like Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart can pull off the whole weird avante garde madness really well but, this is meant to be Primus at their most creative and it sounds diabolical.

"Pork Soda" is just a bunch of blokes abusing what talent they may have and their chance to have a record deal by thinking "hey lets make really weird and boring music for the sake of it!". "My Name is Mud" has potential yet it is so predicatable and repetitive that it's a miracle that it was their hit. Most songs on here i had to use the skip button after about 2 minutes in just to hear the exact same drivel on the song to follow it.

This music is not progressive rock and it is not creative or a masterpiece. It is not even good. I wish i could see what people find amazing about it but there is nothing. All you Primus fans should check out "Trout Mask Replica" by Captain Beefheart to see how it is meant to be done. If this is their best release I would hate to hear the worst release. Primus do not belong in progressive rock, full stop.

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album doesn't seem to get much love from PA, odd since it's their most adventurous and dare I say "progressive" album. Although Sailing... is my personal fav, this one comes very close. I personally think that the early-mid 90s was just as open to unorthodox music as the early-mid 70s were. Pork Soda went to #7 on the Billboard charts, and anyone familiar with this album will wonder what was wrong with young people in 1993. I assume the reason for it's success has more to do with Primus playing Lollapalooza that year than it did for the videos of "My Name Is Mud" and "Mr. Krinkle".

The music here is typical Primus: a mix of Rush, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Residents and Captain Beefheart...although on this album there is a little bit of(for lack of a better term)"hillbilly" music. Primarily bass-drums-guitar(in that order), there are occasionally other instruments, most notably a bowed upright bass on "Mr. Krinkle". Les Claypool is one of the greatest bassists to walk the earth and I can't remember if he plays a 8- or 12-string bass on this. Having the bass be more important than the guitar seemed like a novelty at the time, but I do remember reading an interview with Claypool around the time of this album, where he said that the Police and ELP also put more emphasis on bass rather than guitar. Larry LaLonde (who began in a death metal band apparently) doesn't play riffs but instead fills space or does the occassional solo. Tim Alexander is a great drummer and the band were never the same after he left years later.

'Prog-Related' doesn't seem fair to this band or this album in particular. Odd time signatures, unorthodox playing and the tendency to keep going long after the singing stops are trademarks of Primus. Les Claypool reminds me greatly of the Residents in the vocal department(although I heard Primus first) and his bass playing sounds like a cross between Geddy Lee, Flea and Hugh Hopper(RIP). "Bob" and "Nature Boy" are actually sort of catchy in a weird way, while "Hamburger Train" shows off the band members' skills. Sure, the music can be repetative but no more repetative than Can or Magma! 3.5 rounded up to 4.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars I can listen to Les Claypool hammer away at his bass all day. But this album tires me out. Despite there being fifteen tracks on this album, there is a relative sameness to most of the songs, that wears away at me about halfway through.

Bet there are some good moments. Pork Soda, the song, is hilarious. So is The Air Is Getting Slippery (which has a reference to The Residents, a band that rumors say Les Claypool is a member of - he's not). And Hamburger Train is Primus happily jamming away for a stron eight minutes.

This isn't their best album, but it's got some good stuff.

Review by Sagichim
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Music from quirky land.

Pork Soda is the third album by Primus following two very good albums. The album came out in one of the greatest periods in rock music, when new bands were emerging like rain drops and older bands were releasing their best material, Primus were no different and were at their most creative period. I bought this after two years of its release after I was mind blown by Frizzle Fry, and I must say I always liked it blindly, but placing it in the right perspective I can say the album is not as good as its two predecessors. Said that, the album does contain some of the band's best and most original songs, it's a mix between great songs and ok songs. The album sounds pretty different than anything before and marks yet another step towards Les Claypool dominating the band's sound. It's not rocky or aggressive as the debut and it's much weirder than Sailing The Seas Of Cheese. The album has a dark mood and a muddy sound, and if the playing is not too weird for you, you got Les Claypool's most wacky and schizoid vocals ever, I really love that guy's singing, he is very diverse and seems to be suffering from a split personality since every song has a different vocal approach. The album continues to introduce us to Claypool's wide cast of imaginary characters like Mud, Bob, Mr. Krinkle, the sturgeon and a lot of other names, which is always funny and cool.

One thing is certain when discussing a Primus album, the playing is fantastic. One of the things that makes this band prog related is the intricate complex and imaginative playing of the trio. Claypool's playing is phenomenal and all over the place, unleashing all kinds of bass techniques which demonstrates just what a great and fertile bass player he really is, just check out 'Ol' Diamondback Sturgeon', 'My Name Is Mud' and 'Mr. Krinkle' to get the picture. Tim Alexander's drumming is a little calmer than before, he is more eclectic but that's because of the material itslef. He is very imaginative and diverse, definitely one of my favorite drummers ever. Guitarist Larry Lalonde has a very muddy sound and he is more quirky and crooked than ever, playing some odd lines and overall he is pretty strange. He doesn't play any rocky riffs, that's just not his style and it fits the music perfectly, a lot of great solos, noises and everything that's in between.

Pork Soda is rated surprisingly low, I loved it from the first spin but maybe it would take a while to get into since it is quite strange. If you're already familiar with Primus this album will not dissapoint you as it contains everything that makes them so appreciated. Amazing performance, original material and their great combination of humoristic tales and goofiness with serious, high standard music.

Is it progressive or not? Some reviewers would say no it's not and some would say yes. The album and the band's style is not progressive per se, they have regular songs aside with more progressive tunes, but almost every album as a whole is very diverse and contains all kinds of interludes. Above all the arrangements are definitely not straight forward and the playing is too good and unique to dismiss. I wouldn't recommend it as a starting point to the band, but it's a very good addition to your Primus collection. 4 stars.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Primus has been one of my favorite bands ever since i first heard them as a wee 10 year old kid, back in 1999. Over the years, the band and its frontman/bass virtuoso Les Claypool have experimented with lots of different sounds and styles, some of wich i've enjoyed and others that i have had a harde ... (read more)

Report this review (#951372) | Posted by Knapitatet | Monday, April 29, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Wow, this album is getting a lot of negative comments...maybe they don't understand Priums. To be honest, I don't even understand Primus that much, and they don't even understand them that much, but I liked this album. Maybe this is a Trout Mask Replica, but I really liked this album and have ... (read more)

Report this review (#276692) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Wednesday, April 7, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Three studio albums into their career, Primus still sound very much like Primus. However, this album is significantly darker than Frizzle Fry and Sailing The Seas Of Cheese from a lyrical standpoint. Songs deal with tales involving a friend's suicide "Bob" and murder "My Name Is Mud". Claypool ... (read more)

Report this review (#216894) | Posted by Stooge | Thursday, May 21, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars From the start my name is mud is the highest peak of the album with the other songs being just as standard or a little less.This isnt to say its a bad album,which it is not. Its just it doesnt spring out on you so if you've heard a couple of the tracks its safe to assume the album will continue t ... (read more)

Report this review (#134878) | Posted by mrcozdude | Sunday, August 26, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The only album I got from this band, bought in 1993 during my alternative rock period. I found funny the mix of rock and comedy in the singles ("My Name Is Mud" and "Mr. Krinkle"), so I had to check the whole album. After a little banjo intro, "My Name Is Mud" sets the mood for the whole album ... (read more)

Report this review (#71617) | Posted by zaxx | Saturday, March 11, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is one of the best albums of the '90. Les is very hard to understand. If you would understand him you wold see that he is better than Syd Barret, Zappa and those Beafhearts. His songs can send a very powerfull message ... he is a style creator and like many style creators he is applauded ... (read more)

Report this review (#69914) | Posted by | Sunday, February 19, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I'd have to say 3.5 or 4 stars for this baby. Like some other albums I've heard recently (Daydream Nation by Sonic Youth, Raw Power by The Stooges, Confusion is Sex/Kill Yr Idols by Sonic Youth) this album starts out fabulous and very promising but gradually gets weaker, and by the time the al ... (read more)

Report this review (#46982) | Posted by | Saturday, September 17, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The issue that appears over and over when discussing Primus in the Archives is whether or not they should be considered progressive. In my opinion, Primus is certainly a prog band, no doubt about it. It so happens that Pork Soda is their least prog album I have ever heard (including Frizzle Fry ... (read more)

Report this review (#43191) | Posted by Jamalama | Wednesday, August 17, 2005 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I've been a forum member here for a long time, and I rarely make album reviews, but I had to for this one. In reading reviews about this CD by my fellow prog fans, I'm sad to see how many people think that this is progressive or even good. This album sucks. No doubt, it is creative (to an extent ... (read more)

Report this review (#43188) | Posted by Sweetnighter | Wednesday, August 17, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is another record that changed the face of rock, we like it or not. When "MY NAME IS MUD" hit the radio no one could believe what the hell they were hearing!!! is that noise?, is that music? is tha a pork? is that common?... So, the record start with a marvellous piece of "old fashioned" ... (read more)

Report this review (#42128) | Posted by arqwave | Monday, August 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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