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Primus - Suck on This CD (album) cover




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3.51 | 46 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Not everyone will find enjoyment with this group. I say that as a warning to anyone who reads this review. Primus is not a group that is easy to digest, with their heavily bass oriented approach and their highly unorthodox sound in comparison with everything else that was out at the time. This album, their first album, was recorded at two shows the group did in the Berkeley Square in Berkeley, California (where the band found its home). What you'll find here are early live versions of songs that would appear on later albums (except for Jellikit and The Heckler), slightly reshaped and redesigned, but nonetheless they remain foundation-wise unchanged. The musicianship on this album ranges from floaty guitar leads over meaty bass grooves and chord based metal songs that really make you jump. Regardless, though, this album is a bit hard to digest at first if you are a first time listener, because Primus's sound is different than essentially any other group I've heard.

Opening with the 10/8 intro to Rush's YYZ, the song quickly turns into John the Fisherman, the single from the future album Frizzle Fry. It's not a really progressive song in the least bit, but the bass performance (as you'll find with many Primus songs) is out of this world. I like LeLonde's guitar on this song, with it's Fripp-esque fringes and fills during the verses. Groundhog's Day has a groovy mellow bassline from Claypool and some floaty guitar fills and leads from LeLonde. The song, though, is better represented on Frizzle Fry, but this early version still is pretty nice. The Heckler is one of two songs that can be found on this album, and it's probably one of the weakest, too. It's pretty forgettable, and it has some bland guitar and bass interplay. Pressman is the only song from this collection to be on 1993's Pork Soda. The droning bass notes during the verses breaks into a chord nightmare during the "choruses" and it remains relatively the same throughout the entire song, with no real progression at all. Jellikit is essentially Primus's version of Moby Dick, only shorter, and with vocals. A heavy guitar bass unison riff breaks way into a short little drum solo from Alexander, but in the short (maybe a minute) of soloing, Alexander essentially plays his entire kit in a well coordinated and superb sounding fill after fill bonanza.

Tommy the Cat will go down in history as one of Claypool's most difficult songs to play on bass, and this version of it (the studio version would appear on Sailing the Seas of Cheese two years later) is no exception to that. Although the studio version is better because of Tommy the Cat's vocals by Tom Waits, Claypool tries his best to sing this song while playing the terribly tricky riff. Add a fantastic bass solo from Claypool and you have yourself Tommy the Cat. Pudding Time would find itself on the latter end of Frizzle Fry, and it's a fairly generic affair with a simple bass line and guitar progression, but the drumming is very good here, to say the least. Another one of my least favorites on this album (Frizzle Fry's version is better to me). Harold of the Rocks has some great guitar in it from LeLonde as well as an interesting drum performance from Alexander. This is probably the best song on this album guitar wise as it really shows the creativity and the skill in LeLonde. Frizzle Fry ends the album, and you can derive that it wound up on the album of the same name. It's one of the more progressive songs in the Primus catalogue in my opinion, with some top notch performances from all members. The outro bass from Claypool has this forboding feeling that I really can't get enough of. It ends the album well.

Overall, Primus's debut album is a nice showcase of songs that would find their way onto future albums as well as the creativity and the originality that the band possessed. Although there are many strengths, there are also some weaknesses that go along with it. Claypool's voice isn't terribly great, although he gives his best on every song, and some of the songs sound "samey" in that they have a similar sound and idea around the music. Other than that, it's a pretty interesting set that is a good album, but not essential in everyone's collection. Fans of manic bass guitar will find something to love with this album (and pretty much every other Primus album at that). 3.5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 3/5 |


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