I totally ditched my swim this morning. I thought it would be more relaxing and therapeutic to stay in bed and listen to the cats scratch at the bedroom door instead.
Anyway, I’m making up for that by carrying on with my planned plyometric/weights routine at the gym as “strength building” is a key component for my summer training plan and – dare I say it – I’m even beginning to enjoy them…just a bit though. So to carry me through with the 60 minutes of hopping, skipping, jumping and ultimate suck personified this evening, I have the ‘Purple Onion‘ album queued up by The Les Claypool Fearless Flying Frog Brigade.
This is the album that followed up the initial two live releases, of which, this past Monday’s yoga soundtrack (click HERE) was the second. This album then, constitutes itself as the bands first official studio release from 2002. It is also notable for being Claypool’s first post-Primus release, like, ever. While the Brigade regulars are consistent on much of the record such as Jay Lane, Eenor, Skerik and new percussionist Mike “Tree Frog” Dillon, there are also lots of notable guests such as Gabby La La, Norwood Fisher (Fishbone) and Warren Haynes (Allman Brothers/Gov’t Mule).
The album is in fine and Claypool is definitely in his playful Carnival barker form complete with bizarre comic voices, eccentric scenarios, and funky interludes. But this isn’t a true Primus album, since there are absolutely no seafaring references on any of the 12 songs. In fact, many of the numbers are less songs than loosely connected chapters of a concept album somewhat akin to Alice Cooper’s grim 1975 classic, ‘Welcome to My Nightmare‘. Yes, there are the winged monkeys-like chants galore, like at the center of ‘David Makalaster‘ (the “10 o’clock newscaster” who seems to be the “main character” of the album) and the socially conscious stoned wisdom of ‘Ding Dong‘. The music isn’t nearly as edgy or angular as his work with Primus, but that’s ultimately okay.
This isn’t simply watered down version of Primus, though. Rather (unlike his work on Oysterhead‘s ‘Grand Pecking Order‘), Claypool’s arrangement skills seem to have finally matured to meet his songwriting, with things like a small string section on the Primus-referential ‘Barrington Hall‘ and Warren Haynes’ trying-slightly-too-hard-to-sound-bent slide on the hillbilly stomp of ‘Buzzards of Green Hill‘. ‘Whamola‘, however, is the ultimate psych-up tune to power through a series of difficult box jumps.
It’s was a great album to burn off some pent up stress from the work week, not to mention a few calories through a set of 3 explosive power sets. Although, I will say this, the albums disjointedness makes it rather hard to skip rope to.