Monday, August 21, 2006

Of Whales and Woe

I'll be open and honest with you. I am a bass player. Not particularly good, mind you, but I play a bit and know enough to be a bit biased when listening to either a Primus or Les Claypool record. The man is a freak. Listening to one of his records usually elicits a reaction somewhere in between outright awe at his prowess and downright devastation due to my profound lack of said prowess, generally incorporating both at once, in a very Orwellian, doublethink-style manner. Opening with Back Off Turkey, one would be forgiven for thinking that Les has gone completely nuts, even by his own standards, but after 2 minutes of vocal yelps and half sentences over half complete music lines and a repetitious rhythm, suddenly the bass starts slapping, and One Better begins. And it is the funkiest, wildest ride to be heard this year. Indeed, for many years. Of Whales and Woe is Claypool's 5th solo album, and in a nutshell, it's Primus withouht the backing band. There is minimal guitar, and Claypool plays drums himself, and this spare nature allows his amazing bass skills to come very much to the for, whether it be on the ultra funky, ultra sly and ultra quiry One Better, or on the equally funky but way quirkier Filipino Ray, or perhaps the strange jazz lounge-on-acid trip of Vernon the Company Man.
Replete with Xylophone, odd percussion and distorted brass, woodwind and strings, the album's lack of convention is it's clear strength, allowing a truly unique musician on top of his game to carve a very unique path for himself.
If you play bass, or love Primus, this is for you. If not, you probably won't get it.


Post a Comment

<< Home