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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Primus

Green Naugahyde

Review by Gary Hill

Love them or hate them, there’s not another band out there quite like Primus. They have a lot in common with Frank Zappa, but also share musical territory with acts like The Violent Femmes and Barenaked Ladies. The thing is, it’s amazing that music that’s this far left field and just plain “weird” can have such a groove. Personally, I dig Primus, but it’s easy to see why some people don’t like them. Primus will never be a band for the masses. But, if you like Primus, you’ll love this album.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Prelude To A Crawl

This is literally an introduction, essentially a noise accompanied bass guitar solo.

Hennepin Crawler
Coming straight out of the previous piece, this is the kind of thing Primus does so well. There’s a funky edge and crazed musical arrangement here. The vocals are fast and spoken and take the back seat to the musical adventure. There’s a killer bass solo mid-song that’s very classically oriented.
Last Salmon Man
The main structure of this song is based a bit more in a standard rock texture. Still, don’t ever expect anything from Primus to be normal. It’s twisted in a nice way and the bass guitar truly drives it like crazy. There’s an exploratory jam segment mid-track.
Eternal Consumption Engine
Bouncy and fun, this is a great change of pace. There are definite world music elements here along with other types of weirdness. It’s one of those scenarios where weird music can be so accessible. The lyrics are very timely. The chorus of “everything’s made in China” is particularly poignant. The vocals tend to be more sung than on some of the other stuff here, but they are, in no way, “normal” vocal performances.

Tragedy's A' Comin'
There’s some definite funk and fusion built into this piece. It’s almost like a RIO take on Parliament in some ways. This is a killer groove that has a definite trademark Primus sound. The spoken vocals make me think of Frank Zappa. The extended instrumental section later is smoking hot.
Eyes Of The Squirrel
Backwards tracked parts start this. Then it works out to a slow moving jam with some seriously cool bass work. It’s almost in an old school metal tempo, but there are serious jazz tones in place. There’s a section late in the track that’s got a space rock gone crazy feeling.
Jilly's On Smack
There’s a weird spacey introduction, then it works out to a space rock meets funky fusion groove.
Lee Van Cleef
Here we have a song that’s bouncy and fun. Sure, it’s still got all the trademark Primus elements, but this is one of the most accessible, if weird, things the group ever did.
Moron TV
There’s a killer psychedelic rock groove here and a real driving rhythm section.
Green Ranger
A short cut, there’s a spacey kind of groove this one.
Hoinfodaman
Here’s a smoking hot groove this rocks out pretty darned hard. It’s got a lot of weirdness built into it, too. All in all, this is quite a cool jam.
Extinction Burst
Ambient elements open this and then we get some weird vocals coming into the mix. The cut works out from there, at first in somewhat normal ways. Then it turns out to a frantic fusion-type jam.
Salmon Men
Here we get a short, world music tinged, vocal driven number. It’s tasty and a cool way to end things.
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