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Primus

‘Green Naugahyde’

By Scott McLennan
Globe Correspondent / September 20, 2011

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On its surface, Primus’s first full-length of new material since 1999 has all of the absurd contours and whimsical tones one expects from this progressive trio. Bassist and singer Les Claypool unleashes a variety of slapped, plucked, and bowed riffs to aptly capture his songs’ manic moods. Guitarist Larry LaLonde likewise runs amok, deploying staccato riffs and searing leads across the 13 tracks of “Green Naugahyde.’’ Drummer Jay Lane rejoined the band last year, and his economical and jazzy playing nicely hones the sound. In this refreshed setting, Primus ironically is darker. “Jilly’s on Smack’’ tackles the costs of drug abuse. “Eternal Consumption Engine,’’ “Moron TV,’’ and “HOINFODAMAN’’ slam crud culture. The band’s twisted humor keeps things provocative. Overall, the writing is richer, peaking with the somber songcraft of “Last Salmon Man.’’ Primus’s ability to go from the modified country swing of “Lee Van Cleef’’ to the mutant funk of “Tragedy’s a Comin’ ’’ makes clear how and why it conjures its diverse listenership. (Out now)

ESSENTIAL “Last Salmon Man’’

Primus plays at the Orpheum Theatre on Friday.