Eccentric thrash-funk Grand-Daddies Primus are no strangers to the weird and wonderful, responsible for penning the slightly wacky South Park theme song they have entered into a world of Pure imagination for their first studio album in almost two decades- Quite literally too- as the definitive line up have joined forces with the Fungi Ensemble to cover none other than the original soundtrack to everyone’s favorite classic children’s movie, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It would seem that Tim Burtons 2005 adaption just didn’t sit well with Primus front man Les Claypool, a life long fan of the original movie thus the eccentric visionary dusted off his bass, cleared his throat and rounded up the troops to give his take on how the classic tale should have been portrayed.
The opener ‘Hello Wonkites’ allows us to sample the weirdness that quickly follows as Claypools prevalent bass chugs along like an invitation to the dark side, expect to be enthralled as ‘Candyman’ bursts in with a mass of percussion sounding like a machine that’s mass producing some wacky Wonka creation, it’s a twisted take on the original as the Candyman is portrayed as more of a serial killer than a chocolatier. Roald Dahl would himself would be proud of this version, known for injecting darker undertones into his children’s books it’s said he hated the original movie.
‘I want it now’ sees guitarist Larry LaLondes take over lead vocals, making this the first time ever someone other than Claypool has sang on a Primus record. ‘Pure Imagination’ and ‘Golden Ticket’ are the best tracks on the album portraying the surreal-ness of Mr. Dahl’s masterpiece perfectly, infused with wild funky bass lines this also makes them the most Primus esque tracks on the album, the tracks that fans will most relate to.
It’s not going to be anyone’s absolute favorite album or are you going to want to listen to it over and over again, but it’s something that original Primus fans will appreciate. The genius in the musicianship is there and credit should be given where credit is due, a live show where the album is played in it’s entirety would be incredible but if you’ve ever wondered what watching any version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory would be like on acid, wonder no more.