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Music Reviews

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The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Fat Possum
Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People
Interscope Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
After four years without a release, Primus is finally back in the studio. The new album/DVD set Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People is a throwback to the days of the band's original lineup including Les Claypool (bass, vocals), Larry LaLonde (guitar) and Tim Alexander (drums), but shows an evolved style and outlook that the members bring to the 21st century.

"It seems of late that bands are adding supplemental DVD material to their album releases to promote record sales," said Claypool, as quoted on the band's website, www.primussucks.com. "We've done the opposite. We've added a supplemental audio recording of brand new music to an extremely comprehensive DVD of classic visuals."

The CD component of the dual release is given the backseat to the more extensive video footage provided in the DVD, but with five songs barely reaching 30 minutes, the new music is presented more as a short-running EP.

This unconventional attitude surrounding the new material is part-vintage Primus and part-new school optimism. What most old school Primus fans expect from the trio-the second coming of songs such as "Jerry Was a Racecar Driver" and "My Name is Mud"-they are not going to get with the release. Similarly, more newly acquired listeners will not hear the sounds of the Brian "Brain" Mantia-era Primus. Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People, however, does uphold the key elements that have been at the band's core since the beginning: musical creativity and eccentricity.

"The Carpenter and The Dainty Bride" starts the CD off with the light sounds of cymbals and bass sputterings growing louder and more excited. The introduction continues to develop into something more rhythmic and songlike as Claypool plucks a rapid succession of echoing notes and Alexander pumps out a solid bass drum stomp. Soon enters LaLonde's recognizable reverb-effected pseudo funky, cartoonish guitar sounds and the quirky Primus train is rolling again. Throughout the six and a half minute track Claypool repetitively quacks out nasal lyrics such as, "To the carpenter said the dainty bride/ the grass appears greener on the other side."

Exceptional tracks can be found in "Pilcher's Squad" and "My Friend Fats," both of which are driven behind bass drum groove patterns and catchy bass and guitar licks.

As an entire piece of work, Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People sets a standard for rock records of this new era of music consumption. Primus exists on the uniqueness that once defined the nature of rock 'n' roll; but now in a time of less creative divergence, acts such as this can be considered a rarity.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger



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