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Claypool Lennon Delirium - Monolith Of Phobos album review

Album Review

Sean Lennon and Primus' Les Claypool team up on a new album where their surreal and sinister stories are coated with lysergic pop and psychedelic textures

On their recent tour, The Claypool Lennon Delirium’s set included Astronomy Domine and Tomorrow Never Knows. It’s telling, and if Sean Lennon and Les Claypool seem an odd pairing on paper, on record they make perfect, proggy sense. Lennon’s psychedelic rock band Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger toured with Primus last year, and he quickly bonded with their oddball-in-chief. They later convened at Rancho Relaxo, Claypool’s home studio compound in North California, to write and record this collaboration over a bottle of Pinot Noir or six.

Monolith Of Phobos doesn’t play like a wine album. As you might expect, we’re on a surreal, lysergic plane here. Bassist Claypool turns up in the puckish mode he revelled in on his recent Chocolate Factory outing. Multi‑instrumentalist Lennon, son of (obviously) John and (crucially) Yoko, is younger, even hipper and way more arty and earnest. Together, their musical confection is part Dahl, part Dalí, soaked in the cosmic, marshmallow-skied sounds of 60s psych, but with an arch, modern twist.

The title track is entertaining galactic guff, fading in on a reversed, looped bass note, like radio waves from a distant pulsar. Cue mellotron, celestial female voices, toy pianos and Lennon’s lovely, spacey slide guitar as, with trademark snark, Claypool tells a fabulous tale of a 2001-like monolith that ‘stares Buzz in the eye, it bids him question why we live or do or die’.

It’s part Dahl, part Dalí, soaked in 60s psych but with a modern twist.

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