Les Claypool and the Holy Mackerel - albums

Les Claypool and the Holy Mackerel - concerts

Highball with the Devil

Les Claypool demonstrates his songwriting and multi-instrumental skills here, and the most striking feature of it is not just his ability to come up with catchy bass riffs at the drop of a hat, but to write cohesive songs with beautiful melodies. Many people have criticised Primus, the band Claypool fronts, for deviating too much from their thrash-funk style seen in their early works. Much of the criticism takes the form that there are too many self-indulgent exercises (why anyone would complain about this, I have no idea) and too few "songs". Those people, who would be quick to dismiss this release as a continuation of that trend, would be sadly mistaken. The album consists of 15 songs, with not only the trademark bass work that Claypool is famous for, but also has some great guitar work by Mark "Mirv" Haggard (in Holy Mackerel, Hendershot) and some cool jazzy drumming by Jay Lane (in Holy Mackerel, The Awakening). To top it all, Claypool's drum and guitar work is a constant treat, and overall the sound on this album is fresh and new. There's nothing like it in the current market. One of the best features about Primus is the lyrics Claypool writes, and the lyrics here are weirder than ever (me suspects that there's a bit of THC inducing here). The title is a bit misleading since, if you've not figured it out by now, Claypool does almost everything on this release. But the guest appearances highly complement Claypool's self-indulgence. My favourite tracks are Running the Gauntlet (great melody), Hendershot (which has a cool surf-music feel to it and it sounds great when Claypool says "Hendershot"), Cohibas Esplenditos, The Awakening (great bass and drum work), Precipitation, and Carolina Rig (which is a polished mix of the track Carolina Do Nutt'n Worm from the Shrimp Cocktail promo---the song starts of sounding a bit like Queen's Another One Bites the Dust and has a cool industrial flavour to it). There's enough here to satisfy anyone who likes any Primus album, old or new, and this is one of the best albums I've heard this year. Be sure to catch them on tour!

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