Review Summary: Fans should expect nothing less from a group that consistently references beef, cheese and mud.
Has anyone noticed how hard it is to talk about Primus? The band has the unrivaled experience of touring with Rush, U2 and Anthrax, but a simple conversation about their music is difficult without an awkwardly brazen list of circus instrumentation, funk-metal or the word ‘quirk.’ I find myself barely scraping my coherent thought to mention the band's irreverent humor and creative landmarks such as ‘Sailing the Seas of Cheese’ and ‘Pork Soda.’ The very strangeness of forcing myself to write a full scale review on their return album has led me through an unending torture of deleting introductory paragraphs. Well screw it, because I can simply state that Green Naugahyde
is a clusterf*ck of amusement.
How else can I simplify it? The sheer excitement of hearing Primus again is astounding, and attempting to finish your homework with ‘Extinction Burst’ in the background could lead to hair evaporation, testicular phenomena and the sudden urge to watch Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. My exposure to carnival beat of ‘Eternal Consumption Engine’ quickly escalated into an immoral decision to place the song (as well as the entire album) as the overhead music selection at my local work. Customers consequently looked around themselves in shock and awe to the magnificent sounds of Les Claypool and his mocking lyrics of the obsessive purchasing habits of America complete with the guttural squeal “Everything’s made in China!” being repeated multiple times.
The new triple mix of Les, Larry and Jay leave plenty of Primus for their fans to absorb. Beneath the quirk they present the troubles of their heroin addicted friend with ‘Jilly’s On Smack,’ and Claypool’s childhood with ‘Lee Van Cleef,’ as well as the continuation of the Fisherman Chronicles on ‘Last Salmon Man’ (which bears an odd reminiscence of ‘Los Bastardos’). The dorky side of Primus is still present with ‘Eyes of The Squirrel’ and there is the complete bizarreness of ‘HOINFODAMAN’ and ‘Extinction Burst.’ While every song screams PRIMUS in your eardrums, Green Naughahyde
attempts to distinguish itself from previous albums with focused songwriting rather than a flurried mix of random topics. The lead single ‘Tragedy's A' Comin'’ would be a good example of this, complete with an anthem to sing and slapping bass that makes my 93’ Ford sedan shake in fear. Although it's obviously incomparable to hits such as ‘My Name is Mud,’ the track is still what you would expect from Primus; a fun and bouncy playhouse of nonsensical exposure that bridges the 12 year gap from Antipop
. Those looking to start exploring Primus would likely even find Green Naugahyde
to be more accessible than their previous records.
Now, have you ever heard the phrase that funk is something so bad that it's actually good? Well, place that comment into the context of this album what you will have in your hands is a cup of liquid Primus. While it's possible that a handful of fans will find the return of Primus similar to how Weezer fans treat every post-Pinkerton album, those expecting the same perfection as ‘DMV’ are only holding themselves back from a great album where Les Claypool lays down his fresh voice in 2011 as if straight out of the Brown Album
. In interviews Green Naugahyde
was essentially described as Frizzle Fry
without the excess amount of extended jams, but it doesn't shy away from experimenting since returning drummer Jay Lane makes impressive work across every song for his first formal debut with Primus. However, those looking to critique Primus as equally as any other band will make note of the similarities in several of the songs and the simplicity between them. They wouldn't be too far from the truth. Although lyrically the verse “He liquefied my eye and sliced me up like pie” from the alien encounter of ‘Green Ranger’ is purely golden, it's hard to pinpoint a track here that is remarkable, quirky and
completely mind-blowing. Classics like ‘Jerry Was A Race Car Driver’ and it's drum-set emulation of engines and exhaust or the quotable tongue-in-cheek commentary of "Too Many Puppies" are true examples of the perfection they can accomplish. You could say Green Naugahyde
plays it safe among the contemporary field of silly music, placing more effort into the flawless songwriting rather than the bombastic in-your-face old days of Primus. Unless of course this entire record is a joke, in which case Primus has exceeded beyond anyone's expectations for such an idiosyncratic group. I would give this a numeric rating other than great or excellent, but in all honesty, I can't imagine wasting my time any further to disparage this absurd album. Primus sucks.