Key To Music Grades

A - You will never be whole without it
B - Highly recommended
C - Flawed, but still pretty good
D - It's your money, not mine
F - Why couldn't this have been burned in Fahrenheit 451?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Oysterhead - The Grand Pecking Order (2001)

For those unfamiliar, Oysterhead is the successful one-time pairing of Les Claypool (slap-happy bass), Trey Anastasio (psychedelic guitar) and Stewart Copeland (drummer extraordinaire). Claypool and Anastasio share vocal duties, sometimes together, sometimes by themselves. Basically, forget the silly notion of the flawed supergroup and clashing egos and grating styles -- this album is a must-listen. Obviously, from mere mention of these three musicians, you would expect to hear some tasty bass licks, nice guitar tones and loose, vibrant drumming; and that's precisely what you get. Fortunately, it's not aimless noodling à la Shut Up And Play Yer Guitar, but rather, a solid interweaving of styles and moods. There is a bit of individual showcasing throughout the album, but these performances lend more to the textures of the songs than they do to scream for attention.

The album begins nicely enough with "Little Faces" and it is quite obvious who's keeping the beat. You'd have to have donated your body to science before you were finished using it to not realize that Mr. Copeland is at the helm. I love "Mr. Oysterhead" and still can't decide whether the bass or guitar solo is more yummy. "Birthday Boys" is a fun little up-tempo acoustic number that absolutely explodes at the end.

"Army's On Ecstasy" has some fantastic lyrics and solo spots. "Oz Is Ever Floating," "Shadow Of A Man" and "Pseudo Suicide" are also very good. There's really not much to dislike; I'm not big on "Polka Dot Rose" or "Wield The Spade," but there's too much good here to focus on what isn't. Just skip a few, big deal. B+

No comments: