Of Whales And Woe Review

artist: Les Claypool date: 06/03/2006 category: compact discs
Les Claypool: Of Whales And Woe
Release Date: May 30, 2006
Label: Prawn Song
Genres: Funk Metal, Alternative Pop/Rock
Number Of Tracks: 12
On Of Whales And Woe, all the expected elements are in place - slippery funk bass, both conventional and unconventional percussion, and whackoid lyrics sung in a narrator-esque style.
 Sound: 7.5
 Lyrics: 7.5
 Overall Impression: 7.5
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (2) 3 comments vote for this album:
overall: 6.3
Of Whales And Woe Reviewed by: n0selfesteem, on june 03, 2006
1 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: I'm going to start by saying that I love Les Claypool. This review may seem harsh, but the fact is that I just am disappointed by his work on this CD. You'd be much better off buying a Frog Brigade or Primus disc. The sound of this album is simply bland. It lacks the creativity and catchiness you'd expect from him. The basslines are awesome, but they all sound relatively similar, and are reminiscent of Sausage due to that they are very busy. That is actually part of the problem. While the basslines are intense and very well made, they only occasionally get into a nice groove; they are more liable to feel tense. The guitar lines are basically nonexistent, they're thrown very far into the background and basically used as noise-creating devices to make the basslines sound cooler. The drumming is borderline annoying because of the extensive high-hat usage. Basically, the whole CD (save a few songs) feels like he's got no good new ideas and is falling back on bad ones. Mind you, there are some great songs on this CD. One Better is a very groove-filled (I really don't want to say "groovy") number that is just amazing, Filipino Ray is reminiscent of some tunes off of the Frog Brigade's Purple Onion, Nothin' Ventured feels like a b-side from Animals Should Not Try to Act like People, the instrumental Off-White Guilt, and there's the ever-lovable Robot Chicken theme song. The other songs range from mediocre (Rumble Of The Diesel, to unlistenable. I'm being generous with my grade because the good songs are really really good songs. // 7

Lyrics: Okay, the lyrics really ranged from the song. Back off Turkey, Phantom Patriot, and Iowan Gal are all extremely repetitive. They literally repeat one line over and over again. For Back Off Turkey it's "coming around again," for Phantom Patriot, it's "The Phantom Patriot" in an extremely annoying voice, and for Iowan Gal it's "I Got Me An Iowan Gal." The first time you listen to these, they seem alright, but after a time or two, it's just completely boring. One Better, Rumble Of The Diesel, and Filipino Ray, however, have great lyrics. Les' singing ranges, too. Everything ranges, this doesn't feel like a CD, it feels like a compilation. On some tracks, I love his voice, in others, it feels like he's trying to be as annoying as possible. It's really too bad. // 6

Overall Impression: This album feels like a bunch of B-Sides that weren't good enough to go on other records. It is simply not very good, save about a third-half the songs. The most impressive songs are easily One Better, Nothin' Ventured, Rumble of the Diesel, Robot Chicken, Filipino Ray, and Off-White Guilt. They are really good songs, and I would've prefered it if they had just cut the other songs off the album and kept those. Although, to be fair, the other songs are what make those 6 songs stand out. It's just a mediocre album that is nowhere near representive of Les' genius. I suggest getting Frog Brigade's Set 1 or Purple Onion if you want some Claypool that isn't Primus. If the cd were stolen, I would not buy a new copy, I would simply download the aforementioned good songs. It's really not worth the money people will pay, and I'm wishing I had waited for a review before picking it up. I listen to One Better and Filipino Ray constantly, though, they are genuinely amazing songs. // 6

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overall: 8.7
Of Whales And Woe Reviewed by: The_Loblo, on december 19, 2007
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: As all of Les Claypool's projects are, Of Whales and Woe is an interesting, but sometimes flawed work. Starting off with "Back Off Turkey" (his children did much of the percussion for this song) gives a bad first impression. It is muddled and repetitive, reminiscent of the opening track for The Purple Onion, another album that Les Claypool headed. This bad first impression is immediately shattered however, when the strongest track of the album, "One Better", plays. This is one of Les Claypool's best songs, with an unbelievably funky groove and is performed by a group of virtuosoes of their respective instruments. Some other highlights of the album include "The Phantom Patriot", "Of Whales and Woe", "Rumble of the Diesel", and "Nothing Ventured". All songs have a distinct feeling, yet feel like a cohesive tracklisting. And finally, "Robot Chicken" is a throwaway track included to draw fans of the show. // 8

Lyrics: The lyrics of this album are typically Claypool, by which I mean incredibly odd by mainstream standards. "The Phantom Patriot" contains the best lyrics of the album. It is about a delusional vigilante who attempts to perform heroic deeds, but is captured in the process, leading to the line: "And though it's not intended, our hero soon is apprehended. 'The Phantom Patriot' in Sharpie, written boldly 'cross his shirt". Genius stuff. One of the closing tracks, another story revolving around a character, is "Filipino Ray". This song details a guitarist with a drinking problem and is done in a novel way. Note that I would have, without hesitation, given the "Lyrics" section of this review a solid "10" if it wasn't for "Love Stings". As Les Claypool has said, for better or worse, "Love Stings is the scrotum (of the body of) this album". // 9

Overall Impression: Overall, the question of whether or not you will enjoy this album rests on how much you like Claypool and how much tolerance you have. Some might dismiss songs such as "Vernon the Company Man" and "Iowan Gal" as boring and repetitive, but the stories behind them and the novel presentation invites multiple listens. Although this album doesn't rock out like Primus, this album is a must for Les Claypool fans. // 9

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