Primus: 'Sailing the Seas of Cheese' (Reissue)

“When some trendy new atrocity/has brought you to your knees/come with us/we'll sail the Seas of Cheese,” promises Les Claypool in the introductory track, and in the world of cheese seas, Primus’ 1991 sophomore album and major-label debut is an indisputable classic. “Here Come the Bastards” gives us fair warning of what’s to come, “Sgt. Baker” welcomes us to the war machine, and “American Life” explains the rest of it, all before the single “Jerry the Racecar Driver.” Seas of Cheese is a sniper-rifle bullet to the center of a Venn diagram detailing about 18 separate sorts of music geekery, finding an intersection between prog and punk that nobody’s had the right combination of absolute technical dominance and supreme not-giving-a-fuck to duplicate since. The odd-ball time signature hooks that distinguish the trippiest electronica, Primus pulls off, by hand, nine times on this album. Claypool’s incomprehensible-but-catchy bass lines create complex rhythmic loops, from which Tim “Herb” Alexander’s drum beatings and Larry LaLond’s guitar squeals sprout in countless spiraling branches that some weird ’90s kid could’ve gotten lost in for the next 22 years. The reissue includes live versions of “Those Damn Blue Collar Tweakers” and “American Life” (recorded in Austin last November), as well as a Bassnectar remix of “Bastards.”

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