Conspiranoid by Primus
3 May 2022
Primus are a rare breed of band these days; Virtuosic playing of music that really sounds like nothing else out there, and without a hint of pretension. They have always been on the weird side since they started, and have stretched boundaries further with their most recent albums, creating disturbing yet funky sounds based on surreal children’s books. Conspiranoid carries the trend of weirdness, and even though it’s about paranoia and social anxiety, it’s delightful.
Conspiranoid is a 3 track EP that pleasantly surprised the fanbase when it emerged from seemingly nowhere this year. The lead single (though does that phrase mean anything anymore?) is Conspiranoia, an 11-plus minute jam with a clear structure and catchy hooks. Layers of guitars and bass shimmer and sparkle, teetering on the edge of dreams and nightmares. Follow the Fool smacks the listener in the face with squelching bass that sounds like it’s played by frogs bouncing on plates of jelly. The groove is hard, marching, and hard to pull out of your head. Then we have Erin on The Side of Caution; this is a gnarly rock beast with sinister guitar picking and menacing drum fills. All 3 instruments are dynamic and bold, and rather than supporting Claypool’s bass and voice like other albums, they are intertwined as a perfect team.
There is clear influence from prog rock royalty such as King Crimson and Rush - intense tempo changes, beautifully surreal solos, and bizarre musical details revealing themselves after each listen. It is an odd EP to listen to as a whole, as it ends abruptly and feels like the start of a truly great LP, rather than a finished product. It is however still well worth a listen. Primus have a knack to sound both tight and fluid, like a sentient rubber band. In all, Conspiranoid is a great definition of the phrase “organised chaos”.