Les Claypool: Of Fungi and Foe


Les Claypool is a rare beast.  After being asked to score music for a videogame (“Mushroom Men”) and a horror film about a mutant pig (“Booneville Stomp”) he decided to keep the weird juices flowing and put out a full length album.  Maybe he should have slowed his roll a bit.  Of Fungi and Foe is a scattered, loose effort that feels like Les is reheating some leftovers.  

Claypool has developed his own unique solo sound:  warped, slapped bass, off kilter changes, bizarre lyrics about tweakers that rise and fall, and all are present here.  Cellos, violins, hand drums, vibes an saxophones blow in and out, yet even with all the varied instrumentation there is a sparseness to the proceeding that will keep the listener questioning what will pop up next.  That sparseness is also part of the problem; these songs feel more like sketches then fulfilled works of art.  

The successful, like his jam session with Eugene Hutz from Gogol Bordello which turned into “Bite Out Of Life”, are an engaging listen (perfect match these two, hopefully more will be coming from them).  Others are wastes; “Red State Girl” is an obvious rip on the right, and utterly forgettable, and maybe I am missing the joke, but I don’t give a shit “What Would Sir George Martin Do”.    It wouldn’t surprise me if his next album was called something along the lines of Songs for Cartoons & Tripping Out because that is the path he is winding down, and while his whacked out vision is refreshing in these rehashed times, Of Fungi and Foe could have used a little more red meat.   

Amanitas – Les Claypool

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