The replacement of drummer Tim "Herb" Alexander with Brian "Brain" Mantia doesn't affect Primus' sound in any notable way on The Brown Album. That isn't surprising -- Les Claypool's side project Sausage sounds identical to Primus. What's notable about The Brown Album is how Claypool moves Primus even further into progressive and jazz-rock territory, concentrating entirely on the instrumental interplay of the group and caring very little for writing full-fledged songs. "Shake Hands With Beef," the first single from the album, has a reasonably amusing adolescent lyric, but the real attraction of the song is how its thunderous bass riff weaves in and out with the syncopated drums and avant guitar. In that sense, it does let the listener know what the album is about, and very few Primus fans should be disappointed by what The Brown Album delivers. It's standard Primus -- all instrumental interplay and adolescent humor -- but it's delivered with more finesse and skill than ever.
The Brown Album Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine