“Who gave you Primus!?”
“Such a weird choice!”
I am sitting over my keyboard, my hands mildly clawed, a smirk on my face and a feeling of sinister glee; the album is clever. Ambient creaking wood, and a simple growling cello starts us into the track Seas of Cheese. You know what you’re in for with lyrics like:
The cold wind of conformity
Is nipping at your nose
Oh this is going to be weird.
Here come the Bastards starts us with a simple repeating guitar riff, oh, and it’s in 5/4 of course, a simple weird chant supported by persisting parallel fifths. It sounds off and it’s supposed to; you just here the words “here they come” repeated with a creepy music vibe and eventually the driven guitars finish the track.
Let’s just pull out some of things that Primus are doing. Eleven is a real work of art, the lyrics “I just can’t seem to blend into society” are backed up completely musically by the fact the song is in 11/4, a really weird time signature (and I’ll admit to sulking slightly on finding out the track was called Eleven, it robbed me of unearned smugness). Sathington Waltz is hardly a waltz as it is also in 11/4 (123, 123, 123, 12), try to dance to that you fools! This is the prog rock side of Primus, it’s odd and I’m searching for a word for the execution. “Goofy” might get me nasty looks but it’s that sort of cartoonish on some level. They are sort of telling musical jokes…
Jerry Was A Race Car Driver may remind of South Park, Primus having written that particular theme, and this is due to the parallel augmented 4ths in the guitar. For those not in the know the augmented 4th is probably the strangest sounding due to the fact that nothing about the harmonies of one note can blend with another and again it’s used to sound discordant. All these choices, the band are choosing to produce music that sounds wrong; if you don’t like the sound, you’re not supposed to on certain levels, that’s the point.
Tommy The Cat lets the lead guitar shine in some truly masterful fast riffs and listen to that bass! It’s a real feature all the way through the album actually, there is such a large mixture of sounds coming from the bass and those who say the bass is an easy instrument to play should be pointed firmly in the direction of this album. The track also features a bit of rhythmic poetry, I say rhythmic, it sounds like they force about two and half phrases into the space of one musical phrase.
As an aside, what is with Grandad’s Little Ditty?! It’s a pitched down voice of someone singing off key in the shower.
I enjoyed this album and some tracks of this are going to land firmly on my regular rotation but let’s get to the real question.
Is this album for you?
I have never wanted to laugh more when answering this question. Almost certainly not as a general rule. This is an album for those who like the prog rock/metal sounds and ideas and to a certain extent those who are out to find something musically bizarre.
Overall I feel obliged to dock a couple of style points from Primus because it is so niche but from the band that is possibly trying to alienate some listeners, I think that may be ok.
- Writing: 9/10
- Performance: 9/10
- Style: 7.5/10