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Primus: Primus And The Chocolate Factory With The Fungi Ensemble

Willy Wonka finally gets the jazz-punk shafting he deserves.

Like sugar-starved kids let loose in a sweet shop, wonky jazz-metal pranksters Primus gleefully feast on the soundtrack to Roald Dahl’s most beloved movie adaptation on this inspired covers album.

Frontman Les Claypool is no fan of Tim Burton’s Charlie And The Chocolate Factory remake (“Even my kids hated it”), but his reworking of songs from Mel Stuart’s 1971 original is an affectionate mix of homage and sabotage, honing in on the film’s sinister subtext and amplifying it hugely.

Woven from cattle-like groans and jarring gear changes, The Candy Man Can sounds like Kurt Weill jamming with Frank Zappa and the Cardiacs, while Pure Imagination is reborn as a clanking, grinding, lost Krautrock classic. Imagine if the Oompa Loompas staged a workers’ revolution, occupied the Wonka factory and pumped the chocolate river full of brown acid: this is how Dahl’s classic cautionary fable might sound.

Occasionally straying dangerously close to zany Weird Al Yankovic spoofery, Primus are an acquired taste, but a taste worth acquiring./o:p

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.