By this stage of the game, you definitely know what you're in for when you plunk down your hard-earned clams for a new Les Claypool-related disc. whether it is Primus, Oysterhead, Sausage, or his solo outings. On the fifth release to be solely credited to Claypool, 2006's Of Whales and Woe, all the expected elements are in place -- slippery funk bass, both conventional and unconventional percussion, and whackoid lyrics sung in a narrator-esque style. While Claypool is usually the driving force behind his projects, on Of Whales and Woe, he's thrust even more into the spotlight -- very little six-string guitar is featured and when it does, it's Claypool supplying it. As a result, bass is king throughout. Anyone who doubts that Claypool is one of rock's all-time great bassists should check out his playing on such funk-heavy cuts as "One Better" and "Rumble of the Diesel," while Claypool's quirkiness is spotlighted on such tracks as "Back Off Turkey" and "Iowan Girl." Perhaps Claypool summed it up best in the accompanying album press release -- "It's almost like Morphine meets old Isley Brothers with some bastardized version of Woody Guthrie." Longtime fans wouldn't have it any other way.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Prato