Antipop — Primus

Primus is back, but with a different approach on their new CD, Antipop. The release finds frontman Les Claypool going back to the band’s first full-length CD, Frizzle Fry, for a heavier sound.

His muse, turns out to be Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine). Morrello guests on three of Antipop’s 13 tracks, adding his signature riffage to Claypool’s frenetic bass lines. In addition, James Hetfield (Metallica) and Jim Martin (ex-Faith No More) share guitar duties on a song, adding some more metal to the mix. The effect of these guest guitar players carries through the rest of Antipop.

As always, Claypool is in fine form displaying a mastery of the bass that few can dispute. His voice is still as nasal as ever, but Claypool has a way of using it to his benefit by creating lyrics and characters as strange as his voice.

The result turns out to be quite good: Claypool’s quirky vocals and lyrics are offset nicely by the heavier sound. The only problem with the new formula is Primus’ guitar player, Larry Lalonde, seems left out. He spends most of the CD laying down heavy, three-chord riffs, while his strength lies in more atmospheric, free-form playing. Lalonde ends up mimicking the styles of the guests on Antipop, instead of exploring his own.

Regardless, Antipop rocks. Earlier Primus releases gave the listener the urge to march, but Antipop will keep your head nodding. The original sound Primus has developed over the years takes a step backwards on Antipop, but de-evolution makes for an engaging listen.

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