Les Claypool
"Of Fungi And Foe"

(Prawn Song 2009)Les Claypool - Of Fungi And Foe

If there's nothing else you can say about Les Claypool (and I'm seriously doubting that will ever be a problem where he is concerned), he is one consistent guy. When you pop one of his albums into your stereo you can know with near certainty what to expect: Claypool's funky, bass-heavy rhythms accompanied by his clever but quirky lyrics that unravel themselves more like entertaining short stories. On his latest, "Of Fungi And Foe," Claypool puts a spin on his trademark sounds without disappointing.

Equipped with his collection of basses and some interesting sounding effects and pedals, Claypool makes "Of Fungi And Foe" sound experimental without going too far over the edge. The funkiness is less abundant on this album as the reverberating rhythms mingle with marimba melodies and Claypool's ever changing vocals -- delivered in everything from a slow drawl to a low creak (on "Red State Girl," with its bowed melody and pattering percussion) to a sing-song operetta (on "What Would Sir George Martin Do?"). For "Bite Out Of Life," Claypool speeds things up with Gogol Bordello's Eugene Hütz for a looser, wilder sound while "You Can't Tell Errol Anything" and "Primed By 29" are a more familiar side of Claypool.

While Les Claypool's "Of Fungi And Foe" can be a bit stark on first listen, repeats will find the drug-laced album getting under your skin. What makes "Of Fungi And Foe" interesting is that to the ear, Claypool sounds a little different this time around, but fundamentally, he's still the same as he ever was.

B+

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