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Claypool, Les: Of Fungi And Foe

Of Fungi And Foe is a collection of songs inspired by various projects Les Claypool was working on over various years. Videos games and eccentric movies seem tailor-made for a soundtrack by Mr. Claypool. The song "Mushroom Men" is from a video game of the same name and is about a meteor crashing to Earth and bringing intelligence to the mushrooms exposed to the radiation. It opens this disc and sets the tone for the various rubes, rogues and renegades which inhabit this collection of songs.

The musical style is one that those already familiar with Les Claypool's music have grown accustomed to. His heavy, slightly warbly bass sound is still front and center. Quirky time signatures and clever arrangements are prevalent .The music has interesting textures due to exotic and diverse instruments such as marimba, tabla, vibraphone, and cello. Claypool's nasal voice, slightly processed, is still his signature. In fact, he sounds as if he hasn't quite gotten over a really bad cold. Lyrically, his sardonic, sarcastic, at times black humour is all over this disc. His characters always seem to be flawed yet real. From the know-it-all dope dealing, music career aspiring Errol, to the loveable yet dangerous DUI recidivst Ol' Rosco, chances are you know some of the people Mr Claypool is singing about (or maybe see a little bit of yourself in them?). There is also a tongue-in-cheek look at the types of people that inhabit Sarah Palin's vision of America; and a pseudo-rhetorical track about how Sir George Martin would react if placed in certain everyday situations where diplomacy and patience are required. These tales are all woven around some idiosyncratic, at times hypnotic tunes that seem to be lifted right out of the cartoon universe.

More of a novelty act than a bone fide band, Les Claypool's appeal will vary greatly from listener to listener. He's definitely a talented player and writer, but the humour wears a little thin with repeated listens. A fun record to spin when levity is required, but not one that I think will have any lasting power with the more serious music fan.

Track Listing:

  1. Mushroom Men
  2. Amanitas
  3. Red State Girl
  4. Booneville Stomp
  5. What Would Sir George Martin Do
  6. You Can't Tell Errol Anything
  7. Bite Out Of Life
  8. Kazoo
  9. Primed By 29
  10. Pretty Little Song
  11. Of Fungi And Foe
  12. Ol' Rosco

Added: March 30th 2009
Reviewer: Yves Dubé
Related Link:
Hits: 2200
Language: english

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