REVIEW: Primus – “Green Naugahyde”

Primus / Green Naugahyde / Prawn Song

With their seventh studio record, Primus has added yet another to their collection of albums to have on while handing out candy to trick-or-treaters — or to play at a campfire in the absence of proper ghost stories. From the slightly unnerving, madcap instrumental rhythms to Les Claypool’s dark characterizations of American life, there’s enough to give you the creeps over and over again. It’s just the sort of feeling that Primus fans seek out in the types of culture they choose to consume – and precisely the kind of thing most non-fans would prefer to do without, thank you very much. Even for those detractors though, there are some moments on Green Naugahyde that are sure to entrance. On songs such as “Moron TV” and “Eyes of the Squirrel” Claypool, along with guitarist Larry LaLonde and drummer Jay Lane, display an uncanny ability to lure listeners in to even the most foreboding situations. Manically looped guitar licks and bass sounds that range from industrial to positively squishy conjure up some very dangerous, psychologically distressing realms.

That’s to say nothing of Claypool’s offbeat poetics. The opening lines of “HOINFADAMAN” walk the precarious line between intimidating and absurd. In “The Last Salmon Man” he tells a poignant Great Recession ballad about a father and son, but in the quavering whisper of a lunatic in a straitjacket. The album is the sonic equivalent of being approached on a dark street by a strange panhandler beckoning you down a dark alley. He leans in as closely as the weirdoes in the “My Name is Mud” video, invading your personal space with his grimy clothes, soda-stained teeth and an eye that’s twitching like clockwork. “There’s something you need to see,” he tells you with a friendly Southern lilt. You really shouldn’t follow him, but he’s has this inexplicable charisma. “It won’t take too long,” he says flashing a brown vaguely toothy smile, “Honest.”

Download: “Moron TV”, “Last Salmon Man”
 

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