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Primus  Primus & The Chocolate Factory With The Fungi Ensemble  album cover
3.26 | 56 ratings | 2 reviews | 5% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Hello Wonkites (2:00)
2. Candy Man (4:25)
3. Cheer Up Charlie (3:35)
4. Golden Ticket (5:07)
5. Lermaninoff (0:04)
6. Pure Imagination (5:28)
7. Oopma Augustus (1:41)
8. Semi-Wondrous Boat Ride (2:35)
9. Oompa Violet (1:45)
10. I Want It Now (4:09)
11. Oompa Veruca (1:39)
12. Wonkamobile (1:14)
13. Oompa TV (1:42)
14. Farewell Wonkites (4:58)

Total time 40:22

Line-up / Musicians

- Les Claypool / vocals, basses (electric, upright & resonator), strings (1,2,9,11,13,14), marimba (1,8,14), percussion (12), production & mixing
- Larry LaLonde / guitar, vocals (10)
- Tim "Herb" Alexander / percussion

- Mike Dillon / marimba (2,4,10), vibes (2,4,6,7,9-11,13), tabla (3), percussion
- Sam Bass / cello (3,6,8,10)

Releases information

Artwork: Reuben Rude

CD Prawn Song ‎- ATO0250 (2014, US)

LP Prawn Song ‎- 0882213114, (2014, US)

Thanks to sean for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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PRIMUS Primus & The Chocolate Factory With The Fungi Ensemble ratings distribution

(56 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(5%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(30%)
Good, but non-essential (39%)
Collectors/fans only (18%)
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)

PRIMUS Primus & The Chocolate Factory With The Fungi Ensemble reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Neu!mann
3 stars On paper it looks like an off-color punchline: the art-thrashers of Primus, playing songs from the movie "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory"...specifically the 1971 version, not the anemic CGI reboot directed by Tim Burton, described by Primus frontman Les Claypool as a "horrendous, horrible remake that left the taste of feces in our mouths".

But maybe the idea isn't so farfetched. There was always an element of childlike enthusiasm in Claypool's bass playing, matched to a not incompatible streak of adult subversion in Roald Dahl's original 1964 story. Claypool and company merely exposed the hidden underbelly of songs like "Candy Man", using sinister vocals and ominous marimbas (and yes: marimbas can be ominous).

The album is dedicated "to the wondrous talent of Gene Wilder" (and not Johnny Depp, please note), suggesting an attitude of humble tribute rather than satire. And the music itself was described by Claypool in a Rolling Stone interview as "early Peter Gabriel meets Dark Side of the Moon meets The Residents", with emphasis clearly on the latter influence. The anonymous avant- rock weirdos have inspired more than one Primus detour. And, like too many Residential efforts, this one also foregrounds the album's concept over its actual composition.

But it's a heck of a concept, even extending to the clever promotional gag of including 'golden tickets' in five vinyl copies of the album, entitling the lucky recipients to free Primus concerts for life. As Veruca Salt might have said, "I want it now!"...although doubtless without the same adenoidal growl used by Claypool, in his minor-key Arabian remix of the Leslie Bricusse / Anthony Newley song of the same name heard here.

Unfortunately, even with a showroom full of Lickable Wallpaper, Fizzy Lifting Drinks, and Everlasting Gobstoppers there isn't much substance to really sink your teeth into. Six of the fourteen tracks - almost half the album - stop well short of the two-minute mark, with the four- second (!) "Lermaninoff" ending before it actually begins. And the familiar "Oompa-Loompa" theme is played four times, just like in the movie, but in the same, more-or-less straightforward reading for each repetition.

The album might be almost too respectful of its source, never unleashing the full-funk beast of Claypool's bass guitar virtuosity. His awesome chops continue to elevate the instrument above its usual role as mere rhythmic support. But he spends more time bowing rather than slapping his bass strings here, careful not to disturb the quasi-classical arrangements of each updated song.

The "Pure Imagination" extolled by Willie Wonka, and typically the creative bread-and-butter to even a bass guitar-toting rebel like Les Claypool, is what's missing here. Maybe it comes alive in concert, but on disc the music remains little more than a curious and amusing novelty.

Review by Tom Ozric
4 stars Primus And The Chocolate Factory. This is how the soundtrack would've been reflected had Willy Wonka laced his fantastic candies with LSD........ Here, Primus' Les Claypool has re-imagined the musical backing of Gene Wilder's 1971 classic fantasy film Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. And let's welcome back drummer Tim (Herb) Alexander, who seems to come and go as he pleases. What an eccentric collection of pieces this release contains. Typically quirky, 'out-there' and rather complex, nothing is 'normal' when it comes to Primus. This is one, curious band that's certainly difficult to classify. Also featuring the 'Fungi Ensemble' (Matt Dillon - Tabla, Vibraphone, Marimba) and Sam Bass ('Cello), the songs mainly feature Les on his upright bass, with sparse appearances with his resonator and regular electric basses, Tim playing his kit and nik-naks like how an orchestral percussionist would, Ler playing his skewed guitar lines as usual, and contributing lead-vocals (!) to a track. Let's just say that this album is a blast - it's pure humour, joy, and very Primus. Only Les can get away with twisting and old-fashioned classic into such a modern sounding, freaky extravaganza. And even my 14 y.o. neice gets a kick out of this one. Mostly made up of shorter, incidental links, main tracks that are stretched out beyond the 4 minute mark stand on their own as only Primus can arrange - heavy, avante and plain weird. Classic examples being the manic intensity of Candy Man and the child-like glee of Golden Ticket (traditional Primus). These 2 tracks are pure-gold, just like the ticket !! Elsewhere you can hear the Wonka 'magic' of Cheer Up Charlie, Pure Imagination, Semi-Wondrous Boat Ride and Wonkmobile, interspersed with the various Oompa- Loompa ditties offering the amusing lyrics (especially presented with Claypool's nutty delivery), and various instrumental snippets. I should mention that the Hello Wonkites and Farewell Wonkites pieces remind me of the intro of Pink Floyd's Dogs Of War track. This album may not be the funkified metal extravaganza their fans have been waiting for in the wake of the cool Green Naugahyde album, but it's still has enough fun/enjoyment, and replay value for me to give it a 4th star. And the 'Chocolate' brown vinyl makes it even more delectable......

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