Primus, Green Naugahyde
A somewhat productive step backward
The first Primus album in a dozen years is a step backward, but a somewhat productive one. Drummer Jay Lane played with the group in 1988, contributing to the writing of material heard on their earliest releases, Suck on This and Frizzle Fry. He left before they recorded, though, and didn’t return until 2010. Maybe that’s why Green Naugahyde is reminiscent of Primus’s earliest work, with grooves — driven as always by Claypool’s funky slap bass — that are less herky-jerky than latter-day albums like Antipop and more akin to the psychedelic, vaguely ominous material on Frizzle Fry. Thus, there’s real pleasure to be had listening to these three musicians play together, as guitarist Larry LaLonde spins left-of-center solos atop tricky rhythms. Unfortunately, Claypool (who can write some pretty sharp lyrics at times; listen closely to “Last Salmon Man” and “Eternal Consumption Engine”) continues to insist on singing in the voice of a Dana Carvey character, sacrificing impact in favor of a mannered quirkiness. Still, longtime fans will be pleased.