LES CLAYPOOL’S DUO DE TWANG – ‘Four Foot Shack’
(Out Now on ATO Records)
EVER WONDERED WHAT STAYIN’ ALIVE WOULD SOUND LIKE if performed by the inbred cast of Deliverance? Then this is your lucky day. Les Claypool brings a southern country-style interpretation to a diverse range of classic Primus songs, his solo work and cover versions from multiple genres. Stayin’ Alive is the stand out track, replacing trouser-tight high pitched crooning, with a rumbling grunt of ‘Harm, Harm, Harm, Harm, Stayin’ Alive’; the guitar interpretation hugely entertaining. Alice In Chains’ Man In The Box couldn’t sound further away from the grungy guitar and raucous vocal of the original, but it’s captivating to the point where your ears are hypnotised and can’t turn away. Instrumental classic surfers’ favourite Pipeline, previously covered by many bands including Anthrax and The Eagles, also catches a twangy wave.
But it’s not just covers on offer; classic Primus tracks like Winona’s Big Brown Beaver and Jerry Was a Race Car Driver are just two of their ‘hits’ to get the stripped back Duo De Twang treatment; sounding like a mix of their original 8-track demo versions and an intoxicated late night jam session. The overall effect is nothing short of the marvellous twisted virtuoso performance we have come to expect from Claypool who slaps, taps and pops his way through 15 tracks, all with their own revitalised identity.
His partner in twang is Bryan Kehoe, whose slide guitar and bluegrass style lead provides the perfect foil for the sitting-on-the-front-porch chewing-corn sound, they clearly set out to achieve. It’s an album that needs to be heard, even if it’s just the once, or to briefly sample the reinvention of those recognisable track names. Which would actually be doing it a disservice; as Four Foot Shack actually stands alone as a piece of genius, complete with a freaky hat and beard. (8)