Primus
The Brown Album


2.0
poor

Review

by Alex Carlson USER (61 Reviews)
January 24th, 2015 | 33 replies


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Review Summary: VII: It’s the first time I can say, without any irony or in-jokes, that Primus sucks.

Primus’ fifth studio album The Brown Album is one of creator disapproval. It’s become a joke between the band’s members, as they actively dismiss it at live shows, knowing that it’s a terrible record and very rarely playing songs from it. But that’s kind of hard to believe, considering how phenomenal their past works were. Sure, Tales From the Punchbowl was flawed, but you could clearly tell that Primus were going to continue their odyssey of weirdness. But the band's fifth LP also marks the first studio album from the band without drummer Tim “Herb” Alexander, so the band carries some skepticism. With newcomer Bryan “Brain” Mantia running the kit, The Brown Album sounds different from anything else Primus has created, and that’s not a good thing whatsoever.

The Brown Album marks, once again, a departure from the last album’s sound. Tales From the Punchbowl was Primus getting back to their jam roots, with longer songs and less accessible structures. It's a much more condensed record. Only seven of the fifteen tracks crack the four-minute mark and the hooks are a bit more apparent than the songs on Tales From the Punchbowl. The tracks try to lay off the proggy jams and keep the more concrete elements on display. There are some detours, like the waving “Arnie”, which keep the past in mind, but Primus try not to let their experimentalism and eagerness get the better of them on The Brown Album.

But despite this shift in sound, The Brown Album does something that no other Primus album has been able to achieve: it sounds boring. Really boring. This is an album that only has a handful of memorable tracks, while the rest lack any sort of creative or virtuoso spark. The best moments on the record are the brief glimpses into fever dream alt-prog like “Bob’s Party Time Lounge” or the fan favorite “Over the Falls.” But the rest of the tracks sound completely removed from Primus’ past: “Kalamazoo” tries (and fails) to sound like a more upbeat version of something from Pork Soda, while “Restin’ Bones”, despite its catchy chorus, only gets duller throughout its four-and-a-half minute length. Les Claypool manages to get his trademark repertoire of bass sounds out without much problem, but aside from the thump of “Shake Hands With Beef” or the funk of “Arnie”, the bass sounds more novelty than essential. It’s criminally underutilized.

The album is also hurt by a production that irons out the wrinkles of Primus. Instead of providing a cleaner example of their raw energy, The Brown Album has tracks that sound obnoxiously scripted. Even in the studio, Primus have been able to make their music sound edgy and loose. “Tommy the Cat” from Sailing the Seas of Cheese and “Welcome to This World” from Pork Soda, for all their clean, stylized production, still sounded like Primus dirtying up the stage. They were open-ended in just the right ways. The unoriginality is only worsened by how devoid of energy the album is. “Fisticuffs” and “Camelback Cinema” are huge offenders, with boring and flat choruses without any musicianship left-turns to speak of. Mantia’s drumming sounds muffled and dull, a far cry from the nimble prog of Tim Alexander, especially on tracks like “Hats Off.” Larry LaLonde manages to keep his virtuosity on display better (especially on tracks like “Golden Boy”), but compared to any track on their past records, his talents are wasted on compositions that don’t show much at all.

There’s a reason that the members of Primus take shots at The Brown Album during their live shows these days: there’s really nothing notable about it. The songs sound subdued, like the band is purposely holding themselves back. Aside from a few gems like “Bob’s Party Time Lounge”, there’s nothing on this album that suggests either a new or old Primus. It’s painful to hear an album that’s so dull and uninteresting from a band that’s done nothing but challenge the status quo throughout their career. The Brown Album is easily one of Primus’ worst endeavors, a stagnant record without any of the passion and courageous soul the band has earned since Day 1. It’s the first time I can say, without any irony or in-jokes, that Primus sucks.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
PostMesmeric
January 23rd 2015


437 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

VII. It's been a while since the last review in my Primus full discog review series. Here's a review of a bad album.

ExcentrifugalForz
January 23rd 2015


2102 Comments


not their best album but DANG G

this albums still decent

especially restin' bones

spookynewghostfriend
January 23rd 2015


851 Comments


just a couple things

But The Brown Album also marks the first studio album from the band without drummer Tim “Herb” Alexander, so there’s definitely some uneasiness going in.
i think you need an subject for "there's", i might be wrong though. Was the band uneasy when they were recording it, or would a fan hearing this album be uneasy with that knowledge of the departure

Tracks try to lay off the proggy jams and keep the more concrete elements on display.
The tracks

you say "brown album" 13 times in this review, just say "here" "on the album" or "in this record" or something. It makes for a repetitive read.


The album is also hurt by a production that irons out the wrinkles of Primus, though instead of providing a cleaner example of their raw energy, The Brown Album has tracks that sound obnoxiously scripted.


replace first comma with a period, drop the though. Though is like "but" in that it contrasts the first part of the sentence. you dont need a contrast because you are elaborating on the same point because you already said the album was "hurt"



otherwise have a pos =]



PostMesmeric
January 23rd 2015


437 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Appreciate it, spooks.

HenchmanOfSanta
January 23rd 2015


1943 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Definitely the worst Primus album (my 3.5 is probably generous/a result of Primus being my favorite band), but calling it outright bad or "a terrible record" is a stretch. There is a ton of filler or otherwise forgettable stuff, but I can't see an album containing Shake Hands With Beef, Bob's Party Time Lounge, Kalamazoo, Duchess and the Proverbial Mind Spread and Golden Boy (one of the most underrated Primus tracks!) being bad.

sonictheplumber
January 23rd 2015


5220 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

noice sum dam

peaks40
January 23rd 2015


2805 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sure, but primus doesn't suck

PostMesmeric
January 23rd 2015


437 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Primus sucks.

Supercoolguy64
January 23rd 2015


3263 Comments


gr8 review m8


Digging: Whitehouse - Cruise

riffariffic7
January 24th 2015


430 Comments


My friend told me to stay far away from this album, and he loves Primus. I've only listened to their first-two albums, I think they're fantastic, so maybe I'll check out Pork Soda someday soon. Great review too, man. Thumbs up from me.

PostMesmeric
January 24th 2015


437 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Thanks. You can't go wrong with the first two LP's and Pork Soda is awesome too. Anything after that I'd be cautious on.

Tunaboy45
January 24th 2015


5876 Comments


Great review, always hear about this and (to an extent) antipop being their weakest.

Digging: Bjork - Vulnicura

DrGonzo1937
January 24th 2015


8074 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love this album and disagree with this. But, damn, post, solid review. Pos.

DrGonzo1937
January 24th 2015


8074 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Shake Hands With Beef is so good.

OvDeath
January 24th 2015


2036 Comments


I love this and Antipop. Personally I think their weakest album is Pork Soda.

DrGonzo1937
January 24th 2015


8074 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Always found 'Tales From the Punchbowl' their weakest entry.

undertakerpt
January 24th 2015


1410 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review.



I've always liked this album since the first listen, some pretty cool tracks, although camelback cinema is a bit of a stinker.



Good idea - pickled onions



Bad idea - pickled condoms

StallionMang
January 24th 2015


6620 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This has a lot of their best tracks and some of their worst



And yeah Camelback Cinema is pure ass

Digging: The Velvet Underground - VU

MotokoKusanagi
January 24th 2015


587 Comments


good review but damn if i dont disagree

DrGonzo1937
January 24th 2015


8074 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

camelback cinema is a bit of a stinker.[2]



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