The debut offering from The Claypool Lennon Delirium – a collaboration between Sean Lennon and Primus’s chief instigator Les Claypool – occupies that difficult middle ground between psychedelia and prog. The eleven songs on ‘The Monolith of Phobos’ (let that awful title sink in for a moment) boast nonsense lyrics, multi-part songs separated into movements and excruciatingly clever-clever flights of fancy. The hypnotic anti-tech screed ‘Boomerang Baby’ and the poignant ‘Bubbles Burst’, both sung by Lennon, aren’t far removed from his underrated Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger project.
However, Claypool’s inability to restrain his slap bass chops and Pythonesque way with a silly voice turns tracks like the sea shanty ‘Captain Lariat’ into exercises in try-hard whimsy. At its rare best, ‘Phobos’ sounds like vintage Ween – a studied genre pastiche that occasionally lets the listener in on the joke. Mostly, though, The Claypool Lennon Delirium lives up to its name like a fever dream; you want it to stop, and until it does, you just hope paracetamol will do the trick.