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Primus: Green Naugahyde

Eardrum-grating comeback from jazzcore freakoids.

The original prankster of Dadaist skronk- funk, weird- beard bass guitarist Les Claypool has been making aggressively wonky yet oddly infectious speed-metal jazz-punk with Primus for almost three decades.

Along the way, he recorded the theme to South Park and jammed with acolytes like James Hetfield and Tom Morello.

Reuniting Claypool with two early Primus members, the trio’s first album in 12 years sounds as thrillingly indigestible as ever, the musical equivalent of a turbo-ranting speed-freak chasing you down the street and repeatedly jabbing his bony finger into your ribs. And yet, once again, the high-speed clusterfuck of Zappa-style virtuosity, guttural Beefheart growls and powerhouse Funkadelic riffs proves hard to resist, especially on uncategorisable oddities like Eternal Consumption Engine and Extinction Burst.

The clattery grindfunk of Jilly’s On Smack and the salacious Blaxploitation groove of Hoinfodaman is how Red Hot Chili Peppers might sound if they ever muster half an original idea between them. But Claypool’s nearest British equivalent is probably Squarepusher, the laptop techno boffin turned avant-punk lounge-jazz bass-basher. Both make off-the-map noises that are prickly, brainy, darkly funny and horribly compelling.

Stephen Dalton has been writing about all things rock for more than 30 years, starting in the late Eighties at the New Musical Express (RIP) when it was still an annoyingly pompous analogue weekly paper printed on dead trees and sold in actual physical shops. For the last decade or so he has been a regular contributor to Classic Rock magazine. He has also written about music and film for Uncut, Vox, Prog, The Quietus, Electronic Sound, Rolling Stone, The Times, The London Evening Standard, Wallpaper, The Film Verdict, Sight and Sound, The Hollywood Reporter and others, including some even more disreputable publications.