Sailing The Seas Of Cheese
One might guess by glancing at the album title that we are not dealing with your average album. Nor are we dealing with your average band. Primus, a fairly new band with a bottom-heavy groovy funk/rock sound, has got to be one of the most bizarre bands on the music scene today. This makes for 46 minutes of total weirdness, combined with some incredible music.
Primus, one of the most successful groups from the San Francisco Bay Area’s recent funk/rock explosion, consists of Tim “Herb” Alexander on drums and water job, Larry LeLonde on electric guitar and six-string banjo, and Les Claypool on various basses, clarinet and vocals. Claypool is the group’s frontman, whose odd yet insightful lyrics, complex and slap-happy bass lines and goofy vocal style provide much of the atmosphere for “Sailing the Seas of Cheese.”
This album consists of 13 selections, most with a groovy funk style, such as progressive hits “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver,” “Sgt.
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Baker” and the already classic “Tommy the Cat,” which features guest vocals from Tom Waits. Some of these are extremely bizarre (yet complex) such as a peculiar “Sathington Waltz” and a quirky “Is it Luck?” with its erratic bass line and strange lyrics, (“My socks and shoes always match , is it luck?”). Unfortunately some songs are brimming with musicality, but are repetitious and rambling like “American Life” and “Fish On (Fisherman’s Chronicles, Chapter II).”
My only gripe with the album is that guitarist Larry LeLonde sometimes gets buried in the mix under the bass and drums. I wanted to hear more from him , he’s a talented guitarist, as shown on Primus’ two previous albums (“Suck on This ” and “Frizzle Fry”). A former student of Joe Satriani, LeLonde is definitely not a weak player and does not deserve to be passed off as “texture” or “color,” which one might think when listening to this album. Even his solos are barely audible, which is a shame, because they’re good. Nonetheless, he does pull off some pretty bizarre stuff such as the beginning of a fantastic “Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers.”
Nonetheless, “Sailing the Seas of Cheese” rocks. It’s a must-hear for any bass player (or even people who just enjoy good bass), and for people who enjoy good funk played by a talented band. And hey, even if you don’t plan on buying it, the next time you’re in a record store, check out the album cover. Great stuff.***** n