Primus – Green Naugahyde Primus – Green Naugahyde

Primus - Green Naugahyde

Primus’ reign over the better part of the 1990’s taught us two things. One is that a mixture of funk, metal and general silliness could be made and two, it could be done so well. Even further, we saw it could be done with the support of the mainstream. Looking back, Primus was damn near untouchable from 1990’s Frizzle Fry all the way until the 1999’s closing curtain Antipop. The Primus which existed in the 90’s would be vastly different than what the band would become in the 2000’s.

The band’s last proper LP, Antipop, has been noted for its dark thematic content as well as its stellar guest list who also acted as producers. This darkness and relinquishing of control hinted at tensions and possible lack of direction for the band. After the turn of the century, Primus released a four song EP titled Animals Should Not Act Like People with the promise of a new album. This promise was met with the dissolution of Primus and the continuation of Les Claypool side projects.

Bassist and frontman Les Claypool’s side projects existed throughout the existence of Primus. Sausage, Oysterhead, Colonel Claypool’s Bucket Of Bernie Brains, the Fearless Flying Frog Brigade, and The Holy Mackerel represented a way for Claypool to collaborate as well as hone total control over the albums. During the 2000’s, it was difficult to not only keep track which band was backing the zany frontman but also how this band differed from the last. The 2000’s also saw Claypool spiral out of control within the jamband circuit leading to a disastrous mockumentary “Electric Apricot: Quest For Festeroo.” Much like the realization following a wild night and the sadness which is endured after waking up with your feet in a pool of lemonade and spent nitrous containers, Claypool finished off the 2000’s with some much needed musical sobriety with the formation of a Primus reunion.

Green Naugahyde is the meet up with longtime collaborator Larry LaLonde; as well as pre-historic Primus drummer, Jay Lane. Lane, while lending his talents to the very frightening Sausage project has also been with Claypool’s and his zany adventures since the early 00’s. Whatever was once Primus has know fractured into a thousand pieces held together by the seven degrees of Les Claypool. I wonder if it will be any good.

Entering into Green Naugahyde is like being in a new place which feels oddly familiar. Claypool still retains his laundry list of instrument effects which were introduced over the last 10 years. Still though, the band picks itself up admirably with over half of the album running better than expected. Primus pays homage to its own past with what sounds like songs plucked from the ether of different times. The obvious effect heavy Antipop atmosphere of “Jilly’s on Smack” contracts nicely with the Frizzle Fry birthed “Extinction Burst.” Even “Last Salmon Man” calls back to the Fearless Flying Frog Brigade which may or may not have to do with questionably recycled riff.

For all of its low shimmering highlights, there are some undeniable travesties within Green Naugahyde. “Moron TV” and “Eternal Consumption Engine” do not fail due to their musical prowess rather odd lyrics which expose even odder sociopolitical commentary. Even some of the same zaniness with “Eyes of the Squirrel” could have passed in the 1990’s but things which were cute and silly then are weird and tired now. If one would like to view this album as another Les Claypool side project with guest musicians then it is perhaps one of the better albums of a post Primus universe. If we must look at this as a Primus album then well…they cant all be zingers.

Track Listing:
1. Prelude to a Crawl
2. Hennepin Crawler
3. Last Salmon Man
4. Eternal Consumption Engine
5. Tragedy’s a’ Comin’
6. Eyes of the Squirrel
7. Jilly’s on Smack
8. Lee Van Cleef
9. Moron TV
10. Green Ranger
12. Extinction Burst
13. Salmon Men

Primus - Green Naugahyde, reviewed by Kaptain Carbon on 2011-10-17T11:24:36-07:00 rating 2.5 out of 5

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