Primus – Sailing the Seas of Cheese

ARTIST: Primus               220px-1991_Sailing_the_Seas_of_Cheese

TITLE:  Sailing the Seas of Cheese

YEAR RELEASED: 1991

CHART ACTION: #116 US, #100 UK

SINGLES: Jerry Was a Race Car Driver (#23 US Alternative), Tommy the Cat, Those Damned Blue Collar Tweakers

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Here Come the Bastards, Is It Luck?

LINEUP: Les Claypool, Larry LaLonde, Tim Alexander

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First major label album finds Primus still mining the same vein – odd time signatures, impressive bass work, weird lyrics and subjects – but with less of an element of surprise or inspiration.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Primus was the thinking man’s proggy metal punk funk band of the 90’s, and to first hear them is quite the rush. This, their first major label effort, doesn’t pull any punches. It goes for the weird and difficult with some success.

The structure is similar at times to Frizzle Fry, with a few interludes and intro and exit pieces thrown into the mix. What happens here, though, is that after the brilliant “Tommy the Cat”, the album grinds to a halt with a couple of long, laborious songs to end things.

Yes, it’s impressive that they do a song in 11/8, and that Claypool can play and pluck at the same time, and they, no doubt, could do Rush or Zappa justice. What they don’t have, in the end, are the consistently strong songs that made their first studio album a joy.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver” has been in several video games, which should surprise no one..

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: A new mix, a couple of new-ish live cuts.

GRADE: B: I wish I liked this more. I am just as impressed by their playing and the inventiveness of the music, but the beginning and ending of the album aren’t that great.

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