BY SCOTT RECKER
Les Claypool’s long and illustrious career has taught us to never anticipate what he’s going to do next and certainly never underestimate it. Dark, ominous and as weird as usual — with dominant and dense bass lines — the Primus frontman’s foray into country music, Four Foot Shack, sounds like two characters from a Rob Zombie film started a bluegrass band on the front porch from House of 1000 Corpses. That is, if they each had 30 fingers and enough wry humor and satirical punch to have made Warren Zevon jealous.
Referring to the Duo De Twang as his “fuck-off vacation band”, Claypool revisits some of Primus’ songs, while also splicing in some clever covers, such as “Staying Alive” by the Bee Gees, “Battle of New Orleans” by Johnny Horton and “Man in the Box” by Alice In Chains. With the wide range of song selections, it has the freewheeling vibe of a camp fire jam session, but with Claypool’s maniac mindset, the album has the speed and urgency to stay out of ruts.
The other side of the duo, guitarist Bryan Kehoe brings in country-guitar sensibilities that can turn from subtle to bottled lightning. With Claypool’s playing still heavily indulging into funk and psychedelic directions, Kenoe is really the one who musically brings the twang to the table.
Since only 42 seconds of the album is new material (the opening self titled track), it can, at times, feel redundant, almost unnecessary, but, with a musician of Claypool’s caliber, to see boundaries being pushed — and classics revisited — there is obvious value here. And, at the very least, it’s a hell of a lot of fun.
DOWNLOAD: “Man in the Box,” “Staying Alive”