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CD Review: Les Claypool's Of Fungi and Foe



The Deal: Primus bassist Les Claypool releases his latest solo album, spawned from video game and motion picture work.

The Good: Instead of Claypool solely focusing on the video game song "Mushroom Men" and songs from the motion picture Pig Hunt, he decided to keep writing and release an album. The bassist extraordinaire has forged on down the path of weird noises as he continues to experiment with unusual tones and instruments. "Red State Girl" is an easy dig at Republicans and those who like them. "Bite Out Of Life" comes from a jam session that he did with Gogol Bordello's Eugene Hutz – probably before last year's Bonnaroo Super Jam with the two. There's a definite heavy influence of Hutz on the track and may be the album's best track. One can only assume that "What Would Sir George Martin Do" is a reference to the "fifth Beatle." Funky drumming and vocal effects give "Primed by 29" a hint of the Primus Claypool of old.

The Bad: The quirkiness of it keeps you interested – much like Primus did back in the old days – but Claypool has drifted off into a land of whispers and talking more than any singing. It lends itself to sounding a bit repetitive and formulaic as a whole – Claypool plays a funky bass riff, some out-of-the-ordinary instruments are layered on top and Claypool talks. No matter how interesting any of his solo stuff may be, it's still not Primus.

The Verdict: Quirky would be an understatement. If you're familiar with Claypool's other solo work, you've got a good idea of what to expect on this one. Though "Bite Out Of Life" makes you wish those two would do more together.