Review Summary: A safe, but decent, follow-up to 2016's psychedelic jams.
Back in 2016 when the project came to light, just from namesake alone it will have had experimental and alternative rock fans clamouring at the gates to get a taste of what these two figureheads were about to cook up. Being a huge Les Claypool fan myself, I reserved some intrigue leading up to their debut release – I mean who wouldn’t？ One of the most innovative and revered bass players of our time partnering up with the son of John Lennon？ It looked like a recipe for superlative weirdness. And maybe that’s where I went wrong; maybe my expectations for Monolith of Phobos
were a little high and looking in the wrong places. Idiosyncrasy is not the central focus for this band, nor do I think it was ever intended to be as such, but it doesn’t stop it being any less disappointing. In short, The Claypool Lennon Delirium isn’t out to shake up the status quo, but rather pay homage to the preeminent psychedelic experimentation of the 60s and 70s. It’s a quaint sound to be sure, and it does it well, but the problem I have runs down to fundamental levels; failing to overlook Monolith of Phobos
as being an overt Primus-lite-meets-The White Album
experience. It’s perfectly crafted for a specific demographic, and the band’s name should sell their sound without really hearing a note of the music, but it’s a little disappointing when you consider the calibre of artistry involved here.
At this point, South of Reality
sounds exactly like it should. It still kindles the retro psychedelia they’ve been selling since inception, and is a solid, albeit bloated, ride. “Blood and Rockets - Movement I, Saga of Jack” is clearly written to be a single, containing a similar style of writing to that of Tame Impala’s retrospective mindset: punctuated grooves and catchy, ethereal melodies for the song’s chorus; it’s a solid and concise offering that isn’t as omnipresent as it should be. The signature, groove-heavy Primus stomp is dominant on the likes of “Boriska” and “Little Fishes”, and does a sterling job of pitting you in their colourful celestial world, but for every “Little Fishes” there is a “South of Reality” – a soporific number that lacks the authoritative rhythm of the aforementioned highlights, or the elegant, radio-friendly melodies of “Blood and Rockets - Movement I, Saga of Jack”. The same goes for “Amethyst Realm” – it has some really good ideas at the heart of it, but gives the lasting impression of butter being scraped over too much bread. It doesn’t help that South of Reality
continues to struggle with the same mild case of bipolar its predecessor had. Going from the downbeat “Amethyst Realm” into the fully-fledged Primus composition of “Toady Man’s Hour” – complete with all the flamboyant vocal eccentricities and rhythmic traits – is a jarring transition that makes the album feel stitched together at times. That said, if you’ve enjoyed their work up to now, you should find solace in what South of Reality
does. Just don’t expect anything else.
SPECIAL EDITION: N/A
ALBUM STREAM//PURCHASE: http://theclaypoollennondelirium.com/