Green Naugahyde is Primus's first full-length album in 12 years, and it's been even longer since they made a good album, so it's hard to go into it with high expectations to begin with. But I was mainly disappointed to hear that Herb Alexander, the drummer on all their best early albums who reunited with the band for several tours in recent years, was again out of the fold.
In that sense, I was pleasantly surprised that Green Naugahyde is not bad. Founding drummer Jay Lane is no Herb, but he definitely is a suitable drummer for the band. And as much as Primus get knocked for having such a narrow, specific aesthetic, pretty much every album they've made has had its own subtly distinct sound and mood, and Green Naugahyde has this kind of dark, muddy feel that kind of contrasts nicely with the noodly musicianship and goofy lyrics.
Ultimately, though, Green Naugahyde is just as uninspired and overly familiar as most everything Les Claypool has done since the early Primus albums. The sound and tone of his bass is often more inventive than the actual grooves he's playing, and it sounds like the other guys are just kind of along for the ride. And worst of all is that Claypool's always dark, sarcastic worldview starts to come off downright surly and crotchety with his grumbling monotonous delivery, especially when his idea of injecting 'current events' into his songwriting is to reference Octomom -- I don't know what's more shameful, if he's writing lyrics about Brangelina and Octomom in 2011 or if he wrote them back when they were fresh references and held onto them this long.