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Primus, ‘Green Naugahyde’ – Album Review

ATO Records

At this point, Primus‘ credo is distinct and deep-rooted: Les Claypool’s dizzying bass guitar and drum grooves, crazed vocals with colorful lyrics, and cutting, whacky guitar lines. The band’s latest album, ‘Green Naugahyde,’ comes some 20-plus years since Primus’ first full-length — and 11 years since their most recent release.

By now, the band’s musicianship needs no improvement. Rather, Primus’ return is simply a sigh of relief for alternative-minded music fans and, of course, bass guitar buffs.

On ‘Green Naugahyde,’ the lyrics are as satisfyingly odd as ever, with menacing background harmonies and Claypool’s trademark fretless bass, so precise and natural it’ll surely send aspiring bass players back into their rooms to practice a bit more. Song titles are as whimsical and comical as the tunes themselves: ‘Prelude to a Crawl,’ ‘Jilly’s on Smack,’ ‘Eternal Consumption Engine,’ ‘Eyes of the Squirrel’ and the single ‘Tragedy’s A’Comin’.’

Standouts include the uber-groovy ‘Last Salmon Man,’ which has guitarist Larry LaLonde gutting out a catchy riff and Claypool offering hushed, playful vocals. ‘Green Ranger’ opens with a cool drum solo a la Jay Lane, before Claypool’s low end sneaks in, bringing eerie, psychedelic atmospheres. ‘Lee Van Cleef’ is a bouncy, upbeat, funky thang, with Claypool’s unmistakable slap-and-pop bass.

‘Green Naugahyde’’s tunes seem spontaneous and jam-packed with fun and liveliness. With high energy and lots of surprises, ‘Green Naugahyde’ is one of Primus’ most notable releases. So glad to have you back, guys.

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