by Andy Donovan
The new Primus album, Brown Album, is a major step in their songwriting process. If you gave a random non-Primus fan all the Primus albums they would most likely say: Gone are the unnescesary long instrumental jams as seen on Pork Soda, and the wierdness of Punchbowl. However to the lifelong Primus fan it may not be such a good thing. I think this is their best album since Seas of Cheese. It easily beats Punchbowl, Pork Soda, Misc.Debris, and Suck on This. However, it is not as good as Seas of Cheese, and Frizzle Fry. Some of the changes on this album are the departure of Herb, and the addition of Brain. Brain is much more a strightforward rock drummer as opposed to the busy playing of Herb. Gone are the nasal vocals of Les, he actually sings on this one. Les does not do as much soloing on his bass this album and tends to go for the more traditional bass line (with a few exceptions). About the only thing that remains the same is Ler's excellent guitar playing.
Return of Sathington Willoughby: A great opener that sets the tone for the rest of the album. Ler's guitar playing is particularly strange.
Fisticuffs: An example of Les's more straightforward bass lines. A dark song.
Goldenboy: The most obvious example of traditional Primus. An excellent song where Les and Ler double a blistering intro riff. One of the best showings of Lers skill on any album. Overall one of the best songs on the album.
Over the Falls: A great song in 3/4. An example of their more advnced songwriting. The band sacrifices difficult riffs for tonal clarity. Les sings well on this one. One of the best songs as well.
Shake Hands With Beef: An odd choice for a first single but a good song nonetheless. This is one of the first good showings of Brain on the album. He follows Les very well.
Camelback Cinema: This is the only song I dislike on the album. Besides Brain's awesome drum intro, this song does not have much else going for it.
Hat's Off: A short little ditty that reminds me of Pork Chop's with vocals.
Puddin Taine: Another one of the best songs on the album. Also reminds me of old Primus. Lots of upbeat stuff. Les plays particularly well on this one.
Bob's Party Time Lounge: Despite a terrible intro, this song is one of the best if not the best on the album. Probably Les's best playing. Traditional Ler playing. Brain also plays some excellent beats. One of the few songs where they really jam.
Duchess and the Proverbial Mind Spread: A very hard technically song. Written in odd 5/4,6/4 mesure progression. This song shows the tight playing that Primus have rarely shown in the past. Brain and Les are telepathically accurate on this one. Another strong showing of Les's vocals. A great song.
Restin Bones: One of the weaker songs on the album. Some sttrange guitar noises. Les's voice isnt that appealing on this one.
Coddingtown: Starts off with a great heavymetal riff from Ler and in comes the rest of the band. Les uses an upright through some distortion pedal with some harmonic effect. It's the first time ive heard him use an upright on this type of heavymetal song. A very good song.
Kalamazoo: Very interesting lyrics on this one. Ler provides a nice contrast to low B string work. Another of the stronger songs on the album.
The Chastising of Renegade- Some nice strumming in the intro by Les. Brain and Les work well off of one another as do Les and Ler. Les puts an overall great performance on this song. His vocals are also very good. Again some nice guitar work by Ler.
Arnie- A strange song with an unpolished feel. It has a terrible drum sound. The bass drum in particular. A dissapointing ending to an otherwise great album.
This album has a few bad tracks with the rest being great. The one thing that dissapointed me was the sound of the recording. It has a very low grade sound. The drums for the most part sound terrible. That's not to say Brain doesnt play very well. The record just doesnt have the same sound quality of any of the other albums. This is probably due to them recording it at Les's house. However once you get past that detail it is a great album. I would urge anyone to buy it.