Primus - Sailing the Seas of Cheese (1991), 6/10

Primus’ two greatest singles are floating amongst the Seas of Cheese and make the listening experience worthwhile, as standalone performance and songwriting feats. The rest amounts to filler considering what the band is capable of, however, especially after a successful, albeit frontloaded, debut studio album and in hindsight knowing what comes immediately after, their most complete project. There are some good songs mixed in, but most of the tracks rely on Claypool’s wackiness or the trio’s technical prowess rather than providing anything truly novel. This is a consistent downfall from the band’s inception that continues into the present, as these songs eventually blend together apart from the jarringly stellar singles sprinkled into the mix. In terms of quality Cheese is about on par with its predecessor Frizzle Fry, despite the two records’ strengths and weaknesses being quite different. All of this matters little in terms of pacing because the greatest song the band recorded “Tommy the Cat” breathes life into the track list just when things are becoming dull after the allure of “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver” begins to dissipate. Tom Wait’s guest performance as the cat needs no explanation, as do the performances from the band members; the rhythm section in the song alone is one of the most creative instances of melody in nineties rock music. Regardless, the album is meant to be a fun listen rather than a timeless statement, and this is largely accomplished apart from some moments that drag on a bit too long or sound entirely useless despite their sonically pleasing qualities, such as the duo of “Sathington Waltz” and “Those Damned Blue Collar Tweekers”. Still more than worth a listen for anyone with a healthy sense of humor and an ear for creativity.