Les Claypool's Duo de Twang
Four Foot Shack


4.0
excellent

Review

by Alex Beebe USER (126 Reviews)
February 12th, 2014 | 19 replies


Release Date: 02/04/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Twangin' and stompin' down the dirt road to new-found inspiration.

Les Claypool has been in more one-off and dead-end side projects that anyone should care about, so it should be clarified that his “Duo de Twang” is his “fuck-off vacation band” with only high school buddy Bryan Kehoe assisting him, and that the duo’s debut Four Foot Shack does not consist of forgettable new material that Claypool could churn out by himself while in a slumber. Emphasis needs to be put on the fact that this is not only the closest thing we will get to both a genuine Les Claypool solo album (“solo” meaning with as little outside members contributing as possible) and a Les Claypool acoustic album, but also material that finally proves to be in sharp contrast to his signature Primus-esque bizarreness. With all that being noted, it figures that it took stripping down and pushing away most of everything from his sound and amplifying his bass-playing prowess more than ever to accomplish this new-found distinction in sound from Primus. Four Foot Shack doesn’t even contain new material either, it’s an album full of Americana, freak-folk, and bluegrass reinterpretations of song selections from across his vast outings with side-bands and group experiments. A benefit that can be derived from this for any Primus fan or newcomer is that the album acts as sort of a revisiting tour that touches briefly on every effort Claypool took part in outside of Primus, but what’s most important about this album is that you can be assured it’s the funkiest goddamn faux-country you will ever hear.

Claypool’s eccentric and quirky weirdness has never felt this exposed under these bare sound conditions, and that sort of elevates his persona to a Tom Waits level of presence in that he feels much more front and center without the addition of electric guitars or drums. The really outstanding aspect of Four Foot Shack, however, is that Claypool’s bass-playing hasn’t sounded this good in years. Without any production behind it, the acoustic renditions of these bass lines sound far more raw, grimy, organic, and the licks pulsate with this rustic and stinging tone. There’s really no better showcase for Claypool’s incredibly natural finesse as a bassist, and the unplugged chemistry he shows with Kehoe’s southern-styled guitar wails is much more dynamic than his past meshes that amounted to mixed results. In conclusion, it’s not only interesting to see Claypool capitalize on the southern inspiration that he only offered glimpses at in the past, but it’s also a good thing for fans that these once unremarkable cuts now have unique and inspired new life breathed into them. Sometimes, “less is more” is the only philosophy one needs to go by to reveal a cool new angle to things, and Four Foot Shack is great proof of that.



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user ratings (17)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
breakingthefragile
February 12th 2014


2956 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

2 big paragraphs I'm rolling with the cool cats. This is the most entertaining bluegrass-ish thing you'll hear probably all this year, and the only Claypool material worth checking out that's not Primus.

Digging: Cathedrals - Cathedrals EP

tempest--
February 12th 2014


13450 Comments


hey C2B3 is pretty cool

breakingthefragile
February 12th 2014


2956 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, mostly due to Buckethead setting it apart from the rest though, but I suppose that makes it worth digging.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
February 12th 2014


7391 Comments


Les Claypool's awesome. I may check it out. The last Primus LP was great.

Digging: Lo-Pan - Colossus

HenchmanOfSanta
February 12th 2014


1865 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The Frog Brigade discography is better than this, as is Of Whales and Woe.

I like the novelty of this album but 56 minutes straight is just kind of a slog.

TheSpirit
February 12th 2014


17818 Comments


Great review. I've always respected Claypool but his style usually isn't really for me. I'll be interested to hear his work in a more "traditional" context

Digging: Emarosa - Versus

DrGonzo1937
February 12th 2014


5663 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Not really my sort of thing, but I did enjoy this.

SirDrumsalot
February 12th 2014


1555 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is pretty cool.
Man in the Box is sweet.

DrGonzo1937
February 12th 2014


5663 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

New Primus would be nice....

SirDrumsalot
February 12th 2014


1555 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

New Primus with Tim Alexander!


PostMesmeric
February 12th 2014


367 Comments


I dig the new version of "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver." Very upbeat.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
February 12th 2014


16018 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is fun

Digging: iamthemorning - Belighted

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
February 12th 2014


16018 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

got a beefheart vibe in places

ExcentrifugalForz
February 12th 2014


1727 Comments


Claypool always has at least decent material.
I'll keep an eye out for this.

TWIGtheWONDERKID
February 18th 2014


787 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The album has a big sound for just two guys playing--plus they are having so much fun.

Digging: The Evpatoria Report - Maar

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
March 6th 2014


1875 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really fun album to kick back and listen to, so many of these songs are simply catchy. And those cover versions of "Stayin' alive" and "Main in the box" are nearly flawless.

Digging: Pallbearer - Foundations of Burden

Ovrot
May 24th 2014


10494 Comments


Man in the Box cover is legit

DrGonzo1937
May 25th 2014


5663 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

got a beefheart vibe in places

I can hear that

Butkuiss
June 21st 2014


4178 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's been a good year for the modern gothic alt-country/bluegrass/americana revival.



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