(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Coming attractions - Primus, "Golden Ticket"

Here come the Bastards. 

Well, that was my first instinct when I heard that Primus' next release would be an homage to the classic "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory". But the more I thought about Les Claypool's cracked reflection juxtaposed with Gene Wilder's beloved character, some of the ludicrous logic began to make a kind of warped sense. The big question in my mind is whether he'd find his own expression of Wonka or whether it would owe more to Johnny Depp's spin. Primus' dark slant argues for the latter, but the earlier taste of "Pure Imagination" was sufficiently intriguing that any real judgment will have to await Primus & the Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble. Part Tom Waits inspired percussion (thanks, Mike Dylan) and part uneasy Claypoolean dreaminess, the song is pure Primus weirdness, but the focused moodiness has a calculated clarity that contrasts well with the hyper-attack the band is usually known for.

"Golden Ticket" offers another stop along their re-imagining of the "Willy Wonka" soundtrack. Claypool's moping, weary intro belies the optimistic lyrics, "I never had a chance to shine/ Never a happy song to sing/ But suddenly half the world is mine/ What an amazing thing." Then the tune launches into a martial beat borrowed from "Here Come the Bastards". It doesn't take long for Claypool to assume his twisted Ringmaster persona.  Although Claypool chews the scenery true to form, the music stands up well for itself.  Like their version of "Pure Imagination", the syncopation drives the tune and Sam Bass' cello solo is an expressive treat. There's also a precision that evokes Frank Zappa at his best.

I'm still not quite willing to swallow the ("Primus Bar") chocolate bars whole, but looking over the songlist which parallels the original soundtrack, I find myself eager to hear the Primus take on "The Rowing Song", "Semi-Wondrous Boat Ride", which seems to be right in their wheelhouse.

Primus & the Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble is due to release on October 21.

No comments:

Post a Comment