CD Shorts: Les Claypool’s Duo de Twang

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Thursday, August 21, 2014



As I was purchasing this album, the two guys behind the counter both said that it was a guilty pleasure. I disagree. I want everyone to know how fantastic it is. Friends since high school, Les Claypool (frontman of Primus) and Bryan Kehoe (guitarist of M.I.R.V.) formed Duo de Twang in 2012. It was originally conceived as a gig for a Bluegrass Festival, But they continued with the band and debuted Four Foot Shack in February.

The title track is a little intro that kicks off the bluegrass/hillbilly/comical feel that will continue throughout. The whole album is made up mainly of covers, but even if you’ve heard the originals before, you’re hearing them for the first time like this—especially Alice in Chains’ “Man in the Box.” It almost sounds like a joke; the only recognizable thing about the song is the lyrics. They didn’t cover it, they made it their own, and it’s genius. For Tom Connors’ “The Bridge Came Tumblin’ Down,” Mr. Claypool transforms his voice into Johnny Cash’s and you could swear that you were listening to Cash, just in a funkier country style.

Duo de Twang’s cover of the Bee Gees’ infamous “Stayin’ Alive” is so weird, but so good. It’s hard not to laugh, especially at the chorus. I kept picturing John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever but on fast forward. Speaking of John Travolta, the reinvented version of Primus’ “Hendershot” reminds me of a song that would be heard in a Quentin Tarantino film.

In “Pipe Line,” less is more. It’s a very short song with only a few “la la la’s” for lyrics, but it’s amazing—a number to listen to time after time. “Red State Girl” stands out as the best song on the album. It has a cool, eerie vibe, but is extremely ballsy and fast-paced, like the rest of the album.

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