Sound: Primus fans are about to get another satisfying fix of the band that has not put out a full-length album of originals since 1999. Along with the release of its best-of CD package They Can't All Be Zingers, a new DVD that is even a more fascinating glimpse of bassist Les Claypool, guitarist Larry LaLonde, and drummer Tim Alexander. Blame It On The Fish will take you on stage, off stage, and into absolutely foreign areas that would only seem appropriate in a Primus DVD.
The music is absolutely breathtaking on the DVD, and it does capture each band member's unique way of tackling their instruments. While the execution is pretty much flawless, there is a murky quality to the stage sound. It actually fits fairly well when accompanied with the footage of images like flowers and spooky sculptures spliced into the live segments. The vocals probably do get hidden beneath the other instruments at the same time, however, and you might not always be able to make out the lyrics if you haven't heard much of Primus' music before.
While the songs on the DVD are not usually played through their entirety, key solo sections are usually give the spotlight on Blame It On The Fish, and that is a hugely important element. By allowing their unique sounds to be featured allows viewers to hear and see the talent of the individual players. One of the best moments comes in Bob, when the camera focus on Claypool, who is feverishly slapping away while a bass tech stands by attentively. The sound of Claypool's bass comes out beautifully, which is what many Primus fans will find one of the most essential elements.
The DVD contains an interesting mix of songs, all of which translate well into the video medium. While the titles won't be familiar to everyone given that many of the songs are highly experimental in sound, they will likely be memorable by the end of the DVD. Along with the more well-known Jerry Was A Racecar Driver, you'll also see live interpretations of the songs Hello Skinny, De Anza Jig, and Over The Electric Grapevine. // 9
Overall Impression: If you haven't been initiated into the world of Primus, Blame It On The Fish is definitely a crash course that you won't quickly forget. While the footage is at first unsettling, it's amazing how well it works once the music begins to play. The jazz-like quality of the band with their solo experimentation is something that you can only really appreciate if you see Claypool, LaLonde, and Alexander go at it live.
Blame It On The Fish captures Primus for the enigma that it is. The DVD never sticks to one particular format and seems to enjoy throwing a bunch of nonsensical images along the way. And that's kind of the fun of it, to figure out what they'll possibly show next There's not much in the way of singles if that's more of what you're after, but it's easy to find a lot more to appreciate about Primus when you hear them play songs other than John The Fisherman. But even when it doesn't make sense, the songwriting and musicianship is undeniably phenomenal. // 9