PRIMUS play Massey Hall October 5. See listing. Rating: NNNN
Unless you're among that odd demographic of intense lifelong Primus fans, you probably greeted news of their first album in 12 years with a shrug. Sure, all the 90s grunge bands are touring again, and fuzzed-out lo-fi slacker rock is popular again, but Primus's brand of dork-funk-prog-metal seems like something we should have grown out of long ago. "Wacky" isn't supposed to be a good thing any more, but being unfashionable has never stopped bass guitar abuser Les Claypool before, and that's exactly why Green Naugahyde works.
Younger readers might know Primus best as the weirdos behind the South Park theme song, which isn't actually the worst entry point for understanding them. If you appreciate the foul-mouthed cartoon's social commentary disguised as absurdist humour, you'll like Primus.
But you'll also need to set aside your aversion to slap bass, even though no funk act has ever sounded as bizarre and alien as Primus. They've carved out a one-band-genre that sets them apart from the funk-metal sins of their contemporaries. Green Naugahyde is very much a return to their glory years, which makes it a great introduction for new ears and a satisfying addition to the catalogue for long-time fans.
Top track: Eternal Consumption Engine