The Claypool Lennon Delirium. Huh? Is this another one of Lester's gags? No it's legitimate. Sean Lennon
is the son of Yoko Ono
and the late John Lennon
. Hailing from the bay area of California, Claypool has a natural inclination towards psychedelic art and The Beatles
were involved in psychedelic rock during the late sixties. Both are visual artists as well as performing artists. Sean created art on the the front side of the album cover and Les created the art on the back side. Sean also created the inner collage, which depicts ancient Egyptian artifacts with modern appliances and pictures of outer space. The Monolith of Phobos
is supposed to be a large rock on a Martian moon. So will this album take us on a rock trip into space?
This is an eleven track affair, with Claypool writing the lyrics to six of the songs and also singing lead vocals on six of the numbers. Lennon wrote the lyrics to five of the songs and sung lead vocals on five of the tracks. Les brings an awkwardly jocular personality, sort of like a musical version of Robin Williams. He sings lightly and softly staying with the high notes almost like a falsetto. Sean sings like a young Roger Waters
on his performances. The second song, Cricket and the Genie (Movement 1 - the Delirium) starts with a fuzzy bass rhythm. The subtle guitar picking notes sound similar to David Gilmore. Lennon sings light, yet as bold as Neil Diamond and as gritty as Nancy Sinatra. "And the genie said, I'm the patron saint of prescription drugs!" "So remember when you need a hug, just give your bottle a rub..." The mellotron music comes in juggling melodic notes in an old psychedelic fashion.
Les is a very busy man. When he's not working with Primus
, he's busy with a side project and he also makes lots of guest appearances for other artists. He tries to imitate the classic bassists of the late sixties. At times he wows us with his incredible bass music and skill. Then sometimes come the emphatically awkward structures of classic Primus
. Track number four starts with hip bass rhythms in the vein of Roger Waters
. Les gently sings, "he's creeping, creeping, creeping, creeping through the night, to ease his lustful plight." Then the mellotron breaks out with a catchy high note hook, with a typical style of the late sixties. The drum music is obscure, because the bass notes are slapped in place of the percussion. In his usual jesting style he sings, "he sets up little cameras because he likes to watch her pee, he's trembling with glee."
Since the age of twenty, Sean has been working as a musician and a singer/songwriter for the past twenty five years. He has had a few solo albums, appeared on some of his mom's albums and worked with a few side projects.The guitar music is played with distortion and employs lots of epic shoe gaze hooks. Sometimes his melodic picking sounds reminiscent of sixties era Syd Barret. The eighth song, Ohmerica, starts with some high note guitar picking. And chorus vocals which sound rough and tough like the pioneers of the old West. "Oh...America
!" It follows with a little David Gilmore sounding guitar ditty. The mellotron music lightly chimes in with high notes. Sean sings lightly, "we know when you're sleeping and when you're awake." The drums casually tap along to this rhythm. The lyrics are about how naive we are to let all of these terrorists get into our country.
The drum presence isn't always noticeable, but sometimes appear with subtle tapping beats. The bass music is usually more percussive than the drum performances. A mellotron is a keyboard instrument, which is similar to a synthesizer. This instrument doesn't always dominate the sound. Sometimes it appears so alarming with loud notes, but fades in and out with a cosmic quality. The ninth track, Oxycontin Girl, starts with Spanish Flamenco styled bass slapping, then plays a familiar style like Primus
. Les sings in a light voice, "so blue, so blue." She was an oxycontin girl in a heroin world." Then midway into the song, there is a majestic shoe gaze guitar solo. The mellotron music plays lightly and almost unnoticeable in the background. "Who's going to be the one to drop her at the ER?"
Les Claypool has always been at his best when he was having fun. This current collaboration gives Les another chance to relive his childhood nostalgia. And it affords Sean an opportunity to bask in the glory of his father's heyday. Just because this is a two piece lineup of big names, doesn't mean that it's flawless. It sounds too light and friendly without enough contrast of darkness. The drum performance doesn't have anything on the skill of Nick Mason
from Pink Floyd
. The music mostly resembles A Saucerful of Secrets era Pink Floyd
, a little bit like Primus
, mixed with some influences of Sgt. Pepper era Beatles. They did an amazing job with the mellotron, exhibiting skill that rivals the sixties best keyboardists. A few tracks play through dull and boring. So we go as high as an orbiting rock and then feel as dumb as a rock.