Les Claypool, former front man for the alternative band Primus, is back with his latest solo effort, Of Fungi And Foe. Packed with funky riffs that made his former band famous, Of Fungi And Foe is a silly record in the vein of early Primus. Odd sound effects, whistles, kazoos, and synthesized musical treats round out this strange album that is bound to please any fan of Primus.
The album opens with strange bongos, a xylophone, and Les Claypool singing through a loudspeaker about the Mushroom Men. One can only assume that these are the mushroom men of a hallucinogenic variety, as the strange sounds and odd lyrics would attest to. The weirdness continues as Mushroom Men bleeds right into Amanitas, which has more queer tribal drums, synthesizer bleeps and twangs, and the addition of a violin to round out the oddball harmonies that make the esoteric music come to life.
What Would Sir George Martin Do is an ode to the famous Beatles producer, considered to be rock royalty by most (and rightfully so). Though the tribute is a nice touch, the song is the oddest (and longest) on the disc. With choppy cello strings, a bouncy bongo, and a trill xylophone, Les Claypool sings Sir George Martin’s name to open the song and then lets the music take over. The song tells a tale of a trip (assumingly Les’) to England where baggage is lost, a cab can’t be hailed, and nothing seems to go right. Hence, Les conjures up a question, what would Sir George Martin do (in times like this)? An intriguing song that is hard to fall in love with, but too complex to not listen to a few times.
Kazoo is a musical sonnet to a beautiful woman sung in the strange Les voice, but complete with a beautiful violin, saxophone, and bass musical interludes behind Les’ singing. A soft song, Kazoo is much different from the rest of the tracks on Of Fungi and Foe. Still strange in its own right, Kazoo is a pretty song that shows the depth and ability of Claypool as a solo artist. Deeply ingrained with rich and lavish backgrounds, this song is layered in different sounds. It takes quite a few listens to fully appreciate the beauty of this song, but it is certainly worth the journey.
Primed By 29 is the best track on the album and it is also the most honest. A tongue in cheek look at the music world, this is Claypool’s take on music and concert performers, including his own. With lyrics such as “Geez what a horrible song, it stinks just like a donkey dong, but if you wrap your lips around a bong, I’m sure it will sound just fine,” Primed By 29 is a true call out to the way some music is meant to be listened to.
Not exactly rock, no longer punk, and definitely not modern, Led Claypool’s Of Fungi and Foe can best be described as different. If you’re looking for an album that is a break from the typical arena power chord rock, or heavy vocals with long guitar solos, then this is the album for you. Highly innovative, but definitely not something you can bang your head to, Of Fungi And Foe will be revered by Primus fans and those looking for a different sound that they can pick apart over several listens. Layered with deep, satisfying tones and melodies, Of Fungi And Foe is a record for rockers that like a little more than three chords and a scream. Les Claypool has definitely provided that here.
Rating: Out of 10
- Mushroom Men
- Red State Girl
- Booneville Stomp
- What Would Sir George Martin Do?
- You Can’t Tell Errol Anything
- Bite Out Of Life
- Primed By 29
- Pretty Little Song
- Of Fungi And Foe
- Ol’ Rosco
Reviewed by Ryo Vie (http://rockandrollguru.blogspot.com)
Jeff LaBar, guitarist for classic hard rockers Cinderella and new hard rock supergroup Freakshow, will join JT on the next edition of Hard Rock Nights, airing November 20-26. Jeff will recount the early days of Cinderella, how he joined the band and the first major tour, one of the group’s most notable videos, and the future of the band.
Jeff also talks about his role in Freakshow, the supergroup featuring vocalist Markus Allen Christopher (Miss Crazy), Tony Franklin (The Firm), and Frankie Banali (Quiet Riot/WASP). Freakshow’s debut CD was released earlier this year on Retrospect Records.
Hard Rock Nights is an internationally syndicated radio program and can be heard on a growing number of rock and metal stations, both terrestrially and on the internet. Visit http://hardrocknights.wordpress.com/affiliates for a full list of stations and times.
Check out Divide The Day’s latest video, “One Night Stand” below. For more information on the band, check them out on myspace at this link.