School Days ($5 Special)

SKU: EK36975
Label:
Epic
Category:
Fusion
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"Every pro electric-bass player and their mothers wore out the grooves of this record when it first came out, trying to cop Clarke's speedy, thundering, slapped-thumb bass licks. Yet ultimately, it was Clarke's rapidly developing compositional skills that made this album so listenable and so much fun for the rest of us, then and now. The title track not only contributed a killer riff to the bass vocabulary; it is a cunningly organized piece of music with a well-defined structure. Moreover, Clarke follows his calling card with two tunes that are even more memorable -- the sauntering ballad "Quiet Afternoon" and an ebullient, Brazilian percussion-laced number with a good string arrangement and a terrific groove, "The Dancer." Clarke also brings out the standup bass for a soulful acoustic dialogue with John McLaughlin on "Desert Song." Evidently enthused by their leader's material, David Sancious (keyboards) and Raymond Gomez (guitars) deliver some of their best solos on records -- and with George Duke on hand on one cut, you hear some preliminary flickerings of Clarke's ventures into the commercial sphere. But at this point in time, Clarke was triumphantly proving that it was possible to be both good and commercial at the same time." - All Music

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  • " Once audiences got a chance to hear Primus' instantly recognizable sound, driven by Les Claypool's bizarrely virtuosic bass riffs, their audience grew by leaps and bounds. It was enough to make their second major-label album, Pork Soda, one of the strangest records ever to debut in the Top Ten. Stylistically, it isn't much different from Sailing the Seas of Cheese, though the band does stretch out and jam more often. This can result in some overly repetitive sections, since Claypool's riffs are the basis for most of the compositions, but it also showcases the band's ever-increasing level of musicianship. Their ensemble interplay continues to grow in complexity and musicality, and that's really what fans want from a Primus record anyway. The material isn't quite as consistent as Seas of Cheese, though there are numerous high points; among them are "My Name Is Mud," on which Claypool plays his instrument like percussion, and "Mr. Krinkle," where he switches to a bowed upright bass. There are hints of lyrical darkness stripped of the band's usual goofiness (especially in the suicide lament "Bob"), but for the most part, the humor is again split between eccentric character sketches, cheery paranoia, and annoying novelties (with a slightly higher percentage of the latter than before). Still, despite occasional flaws, what makes Pork Soda a success is that the band keeps finding novel variations on their signature sound, even if they never step out of it." - All Music Guide
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