In 2006 Primus main man/bass legend Les Claypool will be revealing his multi media talents as he releases this solo studio album (his first since 2002), publishes his first novel and releases an independent feature film that he wrote, directed and stars in. Of Whales And Woe marks the first album release under the name Les Claypool. While previous solo efforts were issued under a variety of monikers, these new recordings are the most self-contained to date. Les handles percussion, guitar and drums as well as his usual bass and vocals. This multi-genre release is diverse enough to please both Primus fans and the jam band crowd.
Primus bassman/mainstay Les Claypool uses the occasion of his fifth strictly solo outing to strip his musical instincts almost to the bone; guitars are almost non-existent, with Skerik's sax and the sitar/theremin work of Gabby La La providing the punctuation. Pushing his aggressive, wickedly fluid bass work even farther into the spotlight will no doubt please Claypool's most ardent fans, but the gambit also yields an album whose hypnotic rhythms and spare but potent seasonings are often intriguing. The dozen tracks may be driven by Claypool's feverish, often willfully obtuse creative muse--imagine a smackdown between Zappa and Bootsy with Zorn as referee--yet often constrained by a sense of shrewd pop economics that are rare in similar, instrumental virtuoso-driven excursions. "Vernon the Company Man" and "Phantom Patriot" are texturally compelling, if limited by a lyrical approach that's but re-heated Frank Z. "One Better" and "Rumble of the Diesel" offer sizzling funk workouts, while "Iowan Gal" and "Robot Chicken" evoke whacked-out metallic hoedowns for cyborgs of all ages. --Jerry McCulley