Primus Comes Up Short On ‘The Desaturating Seven’ (ALBUM REVIEW)


If the last few albums are any indication. Primus is running out of steam, ideas, and energy. The freak rock outfits’ previous release was their interpretation of The Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory soundtrack which disappointed almost as much as the awful 2005 remake of the film. For this go around Claypool and company use a lesser known children’s novel The Rainbow Goblins as inspiration for their newest studio effort; the result is The Desaturating Sevenand it is instantly forgettable.

While whimsical, trippy, oddball and offbeat have always been at the core of Primus (along with inventive heavy rhythms and warped guitars) this album feels halfhearted and insensate. The seven songs lackadaisically meander, the lyrics are muffled and sporadic and while the run-up to the album hyped Tim “Herb” Alexander’s return to recording Primus original material, his thundering drums are underutilized throughout.

“The Valley” sets the scene with a voiceover in front of plucking strings and pedal effects before Claypool starts “filling the valley with fear”. While not a stunning opener, the voiceover trick worked and should have been utilized more on an album which too often buries the lyrical theme. Arriving next is “The Seven” describing the Goblin colors and their mission but doesn’t make any impact while “The Trek” uses an acoustic intro with limited splashes of intriguing musical passages that are not sustained, ending after a disjointed seven and a half minutes.    

The album contains a lot of things in this style, owing more to Pink Floyd circa 70-71 than the trio’s own impressive back catalog. “The Dream” swirls backward loops mixing with small touches of weirdness but no climax and little reason to stick around to the lackluster “The End.”  The “Storm” is slightly better with bubbling bass line but it never coalesces, even when the full band closes out the tune.

The strongest track, “The Scheme” contains flashes of vintage Primus with the most interesting bass/ drum pairings, guitar slashes and direct vocals. The albums choice to go with distorted vocals (along with the lack of any memorable choruses) is regrettable especially if Claypool was trying for an album that children would latch on to. The musical space here is dull and will not keep most listeners attention, let alone children in this day and age.  

In theory, both of these most recent projects should fit the band perfectly yet they both fall short. Perhaps a Rankin/Bass style animated film could use this as a soundtrack in the future, but standing alone, The Desaturating Seven is uneventful from a once powerful trio.

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21 Responses

  1. Maybe the author should go see Primus live. This article taps into nothing that is Primus today. If Sean did his research he would know that Tim’s side project with Skerik called Sound Cipher is even more ambient and psychedelic. I will also throw in that this album was going to be performed and created with the Claypool Lennon Delirium but Les asked the Primus boys first if they wanted to do this project and they were on board! By the way no two Primus albums sound the same, they always push the envelope, so I say thanks for the Pink Floyd reference. At least I know that Primus fans will rip you a new one, I hope this article dies right here and doesn’t prevent new ears from experiencing something exciting, new, and different. After going to a couple chocolate factory performances, yes that is exactly what I am getting at. These are Performances, emphasizing the fact that this is performance art. Go see it live.

  2. You just go and freely put down this great new effort by Primus and the also great Wonka album to show you’re among those bastards that think it’s cool to put them down…the album is AMAZING. I’ll rate it 8*

  3. Why would I trust the opinion of someone who likes anything Jack White touches? Ha!

    Album is pretty good and I’m not even a massive Primus fan.

  4. I totally disagree with this review! This album sounds like classic Primus! 8/10 in my book and it only loses a point because it’s a tad too short.

  5. UGH HORRIBLE REVIEW. Shawn Donohue is just a damn lazy writer. The things its full of “Oh, uhmmm, i dont like that. It doesnt work because of reasons. Its short, but im not arguing why”.

    It looks like a review from a guy that heared once Frizzle Fry and wanted to hear something like that again. Chocolate Factory and Desaturating Seven are amazing, they just took the literature and make music over it. The value is inmense, the sounds are delicious.

    And yes, im mad because some guy that dont know how to write a good fucking review and liked that nonsense bullshit Drunk from Thundercat says this great album isnt good.

  6. I’m a long time Primus fan. I think this is seriously some of the best stuff they have ever done. I only wish it was longer. This album is amazing.

  7. LOL. This reviewer doesn’t know his ass from his elbow. Divide this review by zero to correct the inaccuracies.

  8. Anyone who leaves their last paragraph in their critique starting with “In Theory” is a complete and utter moron. Sounds like a grade 9 essay.

    This was a great album, it’s an expression through Primus relating to childrens literature. The music is original and unique, vocals gel well…. keep listening to the mass produced garbage like Bieber and Miley bud, it’s clear that anything artistic or unique will exceed your narrow minded, blinded, viewpoints while you offer your musical “opinion” on this bands work.

  9. You guys saying this sounds like classic Primus are really delusional. I’m a long time primus fan! Listen to Antipop! Listen to Frizzle Fry! Are you even serious? I just got this album and I’m soooooo disappointed. It’s tired! It’s slow! And quite frankly; it sucks ass. I can’t even listen to this shit unless I’m trying to sleep! It’s like they sniffed glue and decided to record? green naugahyde was good! This album fuckin sucks!

    1. so Anton pop grew on you but you don’t this one will…primus albums take a while to digest give it time.. it is one song look at it that way.. the album is one great song.

  10. Maybe I’m old school, but I liked songs like “secret cow” , “drowning man”, “Sergeant Baker”, “frizzle fry”,” Jilly’s on smack”! This album makes me think Les is on smack!

  11. Genuinely your review is completely wrong, if you are an active bass player then I suggest you get off of your high horse and actually pay attention to what is going on with this album. For you to use the fact that it is based off of a children’s book as a reason to why you do not like it is absurd and has nothing to do with the artist’s prowess of the album. Yeah there are heavy Pink Floyd tones, Tool, Liquid Tension Experiment, and old Fancy Band runs. Not to mention a trip back to D’s Diner. Both Les and Tim are on point on the album but especially Larry. His guitar work is incredible on the album. I’m actually shocked that someone that has the ability to manipulate readers points of view on music that they may not of heard yet and possibly won’t because of your seemingly know it all attitude review, would give this a ridiculously unnecessaryly low review. I think you need to puke up the ego pie that you ate and try a slice of humble pie. Did you even see the Wonka show live? Honestly? Because if you have you would never say that Primus is “running out of steam”. This is an idiotic review by you loosely basing your perception of an album due to them using an outside influence as a source of inspiration. Did you have any shred of knowledge that the only reason that Les knew about this book was because his wife grew up having it read to her and his kids love it? It also is an accentuation of greed and attempted destruction which at this time is actually quite fitting. You need to actually pay attention to the album, saying that it’s all muffled lyrics. If that is actually the case for you, then I am not surprised that you claimed to be a bass player yet no one has heard anything that you have done. Your only success seems to be putting your opinion out there and getting paid for it. Don’t rub down people that are more eccentric, talented, successful and creative than you are. I hope Les has seen your review because I am sure he is laughing at you. Speaking of which, I just posted my opinion right here but I didn’t get paid for it even though I am correct and I am sure more people will agree with what I have said than your review. So, do you mind sending me check for my work correcting your words that falsely accuse a tremendous band as losing touch and only being able to use outside resources such as children’s books as a way to have a good time and write music? 100$ is fine, or just give me your job because you are clearly bias albeit being a “bass player” right. Ha you are a dummy. Feel free to message me.

    Completely sincerely,

    Alex Bett

  12. It’s not the slice of pie that taste so good. It’s the whole pie and it smells like PRIMUS…This album live is going to be mind blowing. This is just the template.

  13. Well….if this guy says that Primus sucks then they’ve achieved their goal!


    Lets all go desaturate!
    The album is great but…


  14. You choose Primus albums as you would a fine wine. Sometimes a Red hits the spot and sometimes a White. Other times a nice Rose does the trick. Yes, Primus albums have evolved over time, and “The Seven” hits the right spot at the right time.

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