Primus

Green Naugahyde

01. Prelude to a Crawl
02. Hennepin Crawler
03. Last Salmon Man
04. Eternal Consumption Engine
05. Tragedy’s A’ Comin’
06. Eyes of the Squirrel
07. Jilly’s On Smack
08. Lee Van Cleef
09. Moron TV
10. Green Ranger
11. HOINFODAMAN
12. Extinction Burst
13. 13 Salmon Men

[09/12/11]
[ATO Records]

It’s about fucking time. It’s been, what, over a decade?! I gotta be honest, it’s good to have Primus back, but I’m not about to order lap dances for Claypool & Co. just yet. Obviously, people are going to praise Primus’ work no matter where it leads because of the prestige attached to the name. Primus were always an off-kilter group and that’s what we’ve all come to expect from the experimental rock three-piece, but there’s something missing in the new Primus record that I just can’t shake.

As expected, Green Naugahyde is dripping with avant-garde art rock born out of what could very well be copious intake of psychedelic drugs. While there’s nothing wrong with that in and of itself, those of us who were hoping for a return to the Golden Age of Primus may be disappointed. The thing about Green Naugahyde is that it doesn’t sound like Primus as much as it sounds like a Les Claypool solo record. “Eternal Consumption Engine” is a testament to this, where there isn’t a single guitar note struck throughout and instead, well, it just sounds like one of Les’ more ‘adventurous’ solo material.

Now, one of Primus’ draws have been the large emphasis on bass technicality and generally cutting the against the grain of mainstream rock music. However, what I want out of a Primus record is some riffs, heavy distorted bass, and pounding drum grooves that play off of and offset the oddities. In general, more use of guitar could have been a nice touch, as Larry LaLonde is a great player who can really bring the riffs and solos. He seems to fall to the wayside on much of Green Naugahyde, and it sort of leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Anyone who reads this site regularly should know how I love avant-garde and progressive music that is free of limitations, but there’s just something that bugs me about Green Naugahyde‘s hesitation to rock the fuck out.

Now, this isn’t to say that Green Naugahyde is a bad album. By all means, it isn’t bad at all! “Tragedy’s A’Comin'” seems to be one of the more straightforward songs that not only rocks, but it brings the funk to unimaginable levels of excitement, complete with bass and guitar solos. “Lee Van Cleef,” “Moron TV,” and ““Extinction Burst” are other highlights that bridge the off-kilter with rock attitude and structure—and some more interesting guitar work, of course.

Throughout this review, it would seem that I’ve just been giving Les Claypool a hard time and I’d like to say that it’s merely circumstantial. Les is easily one of the best bassists alive, and he’s one of the most memorable frontmen in rock. However, when I hear Primus, I want to be able to hear LaLonde and drummer Jay Lane compliment the intricate basslines and eccentric vocal work instead of merely playing second fiddle, added as an obligatory afterthought. No disrespect to Claypool’s genius, but if I wanted to hear more Of Fungi And Foe, I’d probably just play Of Fungi And Foe or wait for the next solo record. Give me more of that Rush on acid sort of thing, please. I’ll make do with what I’m given though; any Primus is good Primus!

Primus – Green Naugahyde gets…

3.5/5

– JR

 

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