Primus & The Chocolate Factory with The Fungi Ensemble
A new Primus album, and one with the band’s “classic line-up” back in place – meaning the first record with Tim “Herb” Alexander on drums since 1995. This time the band is augmented by The Fungi Ensemble (percussionist Mike Dillon and cellist Sam Bass) and the album is a re-imagining of the soundtrack to the 1971 film version of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. But it’s also the album-as-movie, not in any way a note-for-note soundtrack recreation but instead a chance for that music to stand up and breathe as concept in its own right.
That the young Les Claypool was enthralled by the film is perhaps of no surprise, this project is both his tribute to that (it’s dedicated to Gene Wilder) – and the books of Roald Dahl. Claypool did not care for Tim Burton’s remake – here he aims to return the book, the movie and its music to that murky world where Dahl’s books for children both delight and terrify. The music builds in intensity so that a key track like Pure Imagination takes on a life of its own, almost a soundtrack to the dancing brooms from Fantasia if re-scored by Dead Skeletons.
Sitting somewhere between the work of the Melvins and the album-tributes Flaming Lips are dishing out at an alarming rate this record didn’t really need to happen. But it’s kinda fun that it did.
It’s exactly what you would expect when you imagine Primus approaching that music from the Chocolate Factory score. And if you’re expecting to get laid at the end of it then it’s obviously your first time listening to Primus. Get used to being alone.