Released: May 23, 1995
Genres: Alternative Pop/Rock, Funk Metal, Alternative Metal
Number Of Tracks: 13
With high energy and full of surprises, Tales From the Punchbowl is one of Primus' finer discs.
Tales From The Punchbowl
kirbyrocknroll, on october 17, 2006 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: I've heard many say that this is Primus's worst album. This is one of my favorites, though. I remember walking through the music section of my local bookstore after helping with some Christmas Wrapping. I saw this album and said "Hey! I've heard talk that Primus is pretty cool, I'll have a go at them and pick this record up". Boy was I glad I did. I fell in love with Tales From the Punchbowl. Not right away though. It had to grow on me a bit. As with other Primus albums, Tales from the Punchbowl seems as though it is coming from a band of another genre. Primus still has it's distinctive style on this record, but as for the genre, this album seems to be aimed torward a more psychadelic feel. Actually, Wynona's Big Brown Beaver is more like Country, but like with other Primus albums, it's a kind of mix between genres. Basslines are off the hook once again. My favorite basslines on this record belongs to the track "Mrs. Blaileen". Nice use of strumming =. I love the bass tone on this track. One thing that I like about Les Claypool is that he can make basslines fit with different genres. Good examples of this are Over the Electric Grapevine, Wynona's Big Brown Beaver, Professer Nutbutter's House of Treats, and Del David Tree Farm. Guitar! Larry's unique (though Zappa influenced) guitar playing shines in Tales From the Punchbowl. He knows when to stay quiet, and when to jam out and really let loose. Good examples of this can be found on the tracks "Wynona's Big Brown Beaver", "Mrs. Blaileen", and "Southbound Pachyderm". I wish I could get Larry's tone. I know next to nothing about drumming, but I like how Time Alexander knows how to use his big kit. The drums make the songs on this record really come alive and add variety. Good examples are: Year of the Parrot, Glass Sandwhich, and Southbound Pachyderm. // 9
Lyrics: This being my first Primus album, Claypool's odd sense of humor and writing style did strike me as being odd. I mean "Wynona's got a big brown beaver and she shows him off to all her friends"? That screams odd to me, but I learned to love it. Les's writing varies as always. Some tracks are fairly literal, while some have a deeper meaning, or so it appears, hidden under basic, strightforward, writing. Les Claypool's voice can get a bit annoying. One track that I particularly do not like Les's vocals on is "De Anza Jig". His voice cracks once or twice there too. // 7
Overall Impression: Some people say this is one of their least favorite Primus albums. I personally love this album. It's a different style for Primus, especially considering their previous 3 albums--excluding Suck on This (Frizzle Fry, Sailing The Seas Of Cheese, and Pork Soda). Nice to listen to on long car rides and when just sitting back doing nothing. Impressive tracks from the album. I've stated my favorite ones up there as examples of where the album shines. Not to say that the other songs are bad. The ones I've mentioned, though, really stick out. I love how Primus shows that you can have a band in which everyone shows control and expression over their instruments. Les Claypool, Larry LaLonde, and Tim Alexander each have their spotlight on Tales From the Punchbowl and know when to shine or stay in the shadows for a while. They really seem to know when to hold back to make a song sound better. Many other bands seem to not now when to break loose and when to be a bit more reserved. If it was stolen. I would indeed buy another one. Great record from Primus! // 9
Tales From The Punchbowl
bassmo_part2, on september 27, 2005 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: As with most Primus albums they've used slightly different gear and production values to get a more varied sounds from album to album. They've already established their use of the rhythm section (Les Claypool and Tim Alexander) as the lead whilst guitarist Larry LaLonde rips out Zappa-esque solos and licks whenevers needed but not a lot which shows he's very patient. However on this particular album he plays much more than he does on others. There is no clear genre, Wynonna's Big Brown Beaver is noisy country music for phychos, whilst Southbound Pachyderm is a spacey Floyd-esque track with amazing melodies. Of course, Primus being Primus they use more. Les' basslines are superb however this is possibly the only Primus album where he is outdone as Alexanders drums are the best he's done yet except for maybe Eleven from STSOC (which is an even better album than this). Les still has his cartoon voice however it does seem slightly less zany and shouty which is quite a shame, but the mans a genius and it does still work. They do seem less energetic on this album as a whole, despite songs like Beaver and Del Davis Tree Farm but this just makes it a good album to chill out to instead of something to go completely nuts to like Seas of Cheese. There are 2 stupid songs however, Captain Shiner and Space Farm which are just weird noises. Annoying to most, but to a Primus fan in the right frame of mind(wink wink, puff puff) they can come of as a fun listen. // 9
Lyrics: I'll say some songs then lyrical content, then how good the concept is. Just a few for a basic idea.
Professor Nutbutter's House Of Treats - seems to be about a man who gives sweets to kids. Might just me but it seems like a ballad of peodophilia.
Southbound Pachyderm - Floyd had a flying pig on an album cover so Primus have a song about a flying elephant. Weird lyrics, seem very drug induced.
Del Davis Tree Farm - about the 'tree farm' where Les goes every year to get his annual Christmas tree.
Wacky lyrics fit perfectly with his wacky voice. // 9
Overall Impression: Not Primus' best but certainly up there. Most impressive songs probably would be "Over The Electric Grapevine," "Southbound Pachyderm" and "Wynonna's Big Brown Beaver." Best bassline is Pachyderm, best drums are Year Of The Parrot, best guitar, I'm not sure, but Beaver does have a pretty cool solo and good use of effects. The sound quality on other Primus albums tends to be better but its definately satisfactory and goes well with the overall feel of the songs. If it were stolen I'd definately end up having another copy in my hands, an overall awesome album. // 9