Sailing The Seas of Cheese: Deluxe Edition
Primus is that much maligned thing – a cult act (said, always, in a bad way). Famously one wag suggested the band was comprised of three of the most talented individual instrumentalists in alternative music at that time. All they needed to do, the wag then suggested, was join three separate bands, doing themselves – and everyone – a favour.
Well, not really. They created a lot of great music, built a fan-base and have had some quirky pop-culture crossovers (The South Park theme, for example). So not a bad effort for a band that played with silliness, all the while playing so well.
Sailing The Seas of Cheese is the correct place to start with Primus – if you’re only arriving at their music just now. It is their best album in terms of a run of nearly-hits and an overall showcase of their best gifts, song-wise; the playing, the silliness, but there are hooks, these are pop songs beamed down from Mars. Er, or something…
So here we have the deluxe edition – the album now some 20 years old and represented in a new re-master (it sounds better, some of the dated reverby twangs from the original are gone) along with a disc of videos for each song, the option of doing the 5.1 surround sound thing and the main album has a small handful of bonus live versions.
But it’s worth it just to hear this music again (the original album) – to relive the excitement that was there when this band really got cooking. Some super songs here, none better than Those Damned Blue Collar Tweekers; a fearsome brew of strange paranoia, urban ennui and the throb and thrum of bass-as-lead-instrument, the thump of drums just set to explode at any minute. Any time a great drum fill arrives on this album you might as soon imagine they lined the kit up and pushed it down some stairs before hitting record.
And fuck it’s wonderful!
Here Come The Bastards, Sgt. Baker, Jerry Was a Race Car Driver, Tommy The Cat and Tweekers – those are the gems. There are other good songs too, no duds, but that’s a great run of songs.
So if Primus was just a name you’d heard and written off because so many people told youthey were silly this is the best place to start in terms of hearing how jaw-droppingly awesome a lot of that silliness was.
Hell, I’ve remained something of a fan – and yes, I think they’re absurd! – and I was still wowed with quite how good this album sounds in this day and age.