Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rock of Ages: Primus - "The Toys Go Winding Down" (1990)

After Cliff Burton, bassist for Metallica, passed away, a young bassist by the name of Les Claypool tried out for the part. He was denied. Apparently he was "too good" for the band. Well, I guess Metallica was right because for my dime, Les Claypool is one of the most innovative and intriguing bass players of all time. In 1990, he finally got down to dropping a record of his own with his band Primus. Along with ridiculously awesome guitarist Larry LaLonde and frenzied genius drummer Tim Alexander, Primus dropped Frizzle Fry, one hell of a debut album (well, if you don't count Suck on This which is a live album.) What ensues over the album is some of the most intriguing rock/metal/fusion/avante garde music you'll ever hear. It's hard, yes, but it's got some strange artistic element to it. This can be seen mostly on the frantic track "The Toys Go Winding Down," a blistering epic of sorts. Les Claypool uses triplets to pound out his bass melody as LaLonde lays down some furious guitar work over it. Tim Alexander's drumming back bone is pummeling and furious, but has an element of jazzy variety to it.

"The Toys Go Winding Down" is one of the most electrifying tracks I have heard. It's a dizzying array of sounds to come from a three piece band. The breakdown towards the end is a jazzy, hazy shade of sounds. Deep bass sounds come in and out as Les Claypool tones down the triplets and the band jams out for a bit before launching back into the fury. The one thing about Primus that might get some folks is Les Claypool's kazoo sounding voice. To me, it's an interesting addition to the frantic nature of the music and sounds other worldly. Primus albums don't change too much except for the looseness or tightness of the group. Frizzle Fry is a remarkable launch-pad for the band filled with other blazingly awesome tracks like "John the Fisherman" and "Too Many Puppies." Something about the brash nature of "The Toys Go Winding Down" really hits home for me.

Up Next: My Bloody Valentine gives birth to shoegaze

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