Before you even get to the goblins, it’s special for one big reason: The Desaturating Seven is the first studio album of original material since 1995 from the classic Primus lineup of Les Claypool on bass, Larry LaLonde on guitar, and Tim Alexander on drums. 22 years since Tales From The Punchbowl, their cult of fans had long polished off the punch and were thirsty for more from the prolific group – and in response, Primus poured out a deliciously scary story to drink in. Inspired by the 1978 children’s book from Italian author and illustrator Ul de Rico, The Rainbow Goblins – which Claypool reportedly read to his kids growing up – the story follows seven goblins who constantly suck the colors out of the rainbow so that no one else can enjoy them.
In ‘78, the tale was depicted in Ul de Rico’s vibrant illustrations (as shown in the official lyric video below) and perceived by many parents as somewhat disturbing and void of a moral. In the dystopian throes of ‘17, though, the message seems clearer than ever, and that was all part of the plan. “I think with the way the world is right now, it’s very relevant,” Claypool told Rolling Stone before the album was revealed. “The notion of gluttony and those that have taking more than their share from those that don’t.” The album’s cornerstone track, “The Seven,” not only evokes this dark reality in lyric, but in Alexander’s pulse-altering (and extremely clever) 7/8 time-signature, bringing the story full circle under LaLonde’s sticky riffs and Claypool’s instantly-recognizable basslines. “The use of color and darkness both in the paintings and the writing was compelling,” explained Claypool in the press release, “and now, near two decades later, the metaphor of greed, gluttony and deceit vs unity of the masses is eerily relevant.”
In all fairness, you probably have to meet the criteria of being into 1) Primus, 2) trippy concept albums, or 3) spooky vintage children’s literature – ideally, all three – to enjoy The Desaturating Seven to its fullest. It’s a sit-down-and-listen kind of record, but the fitting 7-song tracklist is easy for the passive listener to gobble up in one sitting. General criticism of the album’s weirdness seems to reflect a misunderstanding of one of those three pillars. For Primus fans especially, this is a thoughtful, sonic treat from a band who have such an immersive discography as it is, they don’t really need to be delving into perplexing source material and pounding out fresh sounds around it. The beauty is that they simply desired to. “I remember being incredibly impressed with the artwork and the storyline and the content and the message, and I thought, ‘Wow, this would make a great piece of music,'” Claypool noted in the RS interview. “As I’m getting older, I’m realizing I need to start knocking some of these things off my list. So we did the Willy Wonka soundtrack a couple years back, and this was a project I wanted to do.” The end result – ultimately etched into deliciously cool, rainbow-colored wax – is one of the finest spoils of being a Primus fan. At least, until their next wild idea comes to fruition.
You can order The Desaturating Seven here, and follow Primus on Facebook and Twitter. Don’t miss their upcoming New York show at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester on October 29th (tix available here).
Article: Olivia Isenhart