ATO RECORDS 22nd February 2019
Two and a half years on from the first offering from Lennon and Claypool, they have topped that with strangeness and polish – this is hugely enjoyable. No-one is ever going to mistake Claypool’s bass playing for anyone else but left to his own devices he can over-indulge himself and having Sean Lennon onboard has tempered and channelled the creativity into a very healthy and psychedelic direction.
This is psychedelia of the classic kind and very White Album-era Beatles in places. Sean Lennon seems to have brought strong chorus tunes to the duo, while Les Claypool brings in the sing-song aspect, mocking and poking at everything ‘respectable’. Backwards tape effects and songs like Toady Man have a definite air of Sean’s Dad, John. Little Fishes opens the set with something that is either grumbly old men or sarcasm (I’m going for the latter), Revolver-style harmonies and excitable rubber bass figures. It laments online dating, gender-swaps, mixed toilets and a lack of youthful rebellion. The following suite keeps up the quality with solid sixties-style scene-setting and story-shaping. A thrilling tumble of bass opens South Of Reality and it is – south of reality, that is. Story songs, more sarcasm and hippy-trippy fantasy themes follow, accompanied by chiming guitar, tape effects, Zappa-esque moments and the occasional raga scale. Bass twiddles and busies itself, never an accompaniement, always a lead voice in the mix.
The closer shows the psychedelic distance Claypool feels from the herd as he tells how the Earth will shake us off like “fleas on the back of the dog”. Hopefully not before we’ve heard more from Lennon and Claypool.
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