Primus redefines their sound on ‘The Desaturating Seven’

Adrienne Oliva, Editor in Chief

With song subject matter ranging from the desire to be a fisherman, to a beaver that might possibly be a porcupine in disguise, it is understandable that many first time Primus listeners might perceive the band as just a little strange. Primus is known for being experimental, and this experimentation goes well beyond the subject matter of their songs.

The band is also known for genre hopping. While they might sound like a metal band on the song “Too Many Puppies,” they can sound just as much like a country group on the song “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver.” With their newest album, “The Desaturating Seven,” Primus has jumped into a new genre known as prog, or progressive rock.

Progressive rock as a genre is defined by its experimentation with the classic form of pop and rock songs. This means more often than not prog rejects the traditional “verse chorus verse chorus” format for a looser song structure. The also reject the typical 4-minute song length. Many prog albums are also concept albums, which is an album that has an ongoing story or thematic cohesion throughout the feature.

All these features can be heard on Primus’s newest alum “The Desaturated Seven.” In terms of story, the album is based on the children’s book “The Rainbow Goblins.” The album follows the surreal tale of seven greedy, rainbow eating goblins as they attempt to get their rainbow fix. Though the album does follow the literal story of the goblins, the album’s ongoing themes about gluttony and greed are described as “eerily relevant” to the current political climate by lead singer and bass master Les Claypool.

In terms of experimentation instrumentally, the band has always been talented at venturing into strange but sonically pleasing territories. I think what makes this album sound different from past albums is its overall song format. The song lengths are overall longer than they have been on past efforts. The way in which the songs are organized seem to be less traditional. The songs seem structured around the telling of the story, and not the other way around. Even the number of songs is affected by the story telling on this album, as the album purposely only has seven tracks.

Adventuring into prog feels like a natural progression in their music for the band. Though Primus has been notorious for their experimentation, this album demonstrates the continual growth of it. This is what makes the band so exciting. Their ability to continually experiment with songs has never slowed down. And for a band that gained their popularity in the early ’90s, that’s pretty impressive, and even more progressive.