Album Review

Primus "Green Naugahyde"

Chad W. Lutz
Colonel Claypool and the gang are at it again. On September 12, 2011, Larry LaLonde, Jay Lane, and the one known simply as the man with the rainbow bass released their eighth studio album under the Primus moniker. More than 20 years after Primus first formed, the San Francisco-based psych-metal band has a fan base as strong as ever. Headlining festivals and playing to millions of fans appears to have done very little in the way of slowing down Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver.

Released on ATO Records and Primus-owned label Prawn Song, Green Naugahyde explores elements and styles similar to Frizzle Fry (1990). Joining the band for the first time in twenty years is original drummer Jay Lane, who Claypool revealed in a September 2011 interview with Consequence of Sound, “brought a huge ball of energy back into the room from the very second he started playing.” Referring to Lane’s return he added, “that’s the main reason we’re doing this again.”

The 13-track album puts on wild display the very sort of raucous music Primus became famous for. Spanning a modest 50:46, the album rarely drags and is wildly entertaining and cartoony ode to the Primus of old. Tracks like “Last Salmon Man” (6:15) and “Hennipin Crawler” (3:59) invoke images of a youthful Claypool and gang sailing the seas of cheese. Political satires such as Eternal Consumption Engine lend to the band’s ever-amorphous beliefs and ability to mix politics and music in a comically rocking way. Just ask Primus, “everything’s made in China.”

Green Naugahyde features an outstanding performance from everyone involved. LaLonde provides his patented dissonant and often eerie guitar, Lane keeps up with Les’ erratic and often unpredictable time signatures and Claypool, well, musical molestation seems to be the only word that comes to mind. And I think he’d be proud of that.

Primus fans should definitely be pleased with their latest release, along with your average metal head and rocker. I think it’s too early to call just yet, but there’s something missing from the equation that doesn’t quite give me the gall to chalk this one up to Frizzle Fry, Pork Soda, or Sailing the Seas of Cheese mastery just yet. But, hey, at least it’s not The Brown Album.