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Grand Pecking Order
     

The Grand Pecking Order

5.0 4
by Oysterhead
 
"Democracy" is a word often bandied about when discussing rock supergroups, but as a rule, it doesn't take long to spot the dictator in any gaggle of guitar-toting geezers. This oddly named -- and even more oddly configured -- combo, however, is the exception to that rule, proffering an art-rock tour de force made up of seemingly equal contributions from all three

Overview

"Democracy" is a word often bandied about when discussing rock supergroups, but as a rule, it doesn't take long to spot the dictator in any gaggle of guitar-toting geezers. This oddly named -- and even more oddly configured -- combo, however, is the exception to that rule, proffering an art-rock tour de force made up of seemingly equal contributions from all three members. Consisting of Phish's Trey Anastasio, Primus's Les Claypool, and former Police skinsman Stewart Copeland, Oysterhead make the most of the members' shared fondness for free-form freak-outs, be they feverish and frenzied ("Pseudo Suicide") or jazzbo-cool ("Mr. Oysterhead"). The measured lunacy, decidedly reminiscent of mid-period Mothers of Invention, strikes a fine balance between Phish's head games (the jumping-off point for the squirrelly "Little Faces") and Primus's devoutly loony cartoon-prog (captured in full flower on the title track). Folks who demand instant gratification from a listening session will probably throw up their hands midway through this dense disc, but for those willing to hunker down for the long run, The Grand Pecking Order provides a nice, if delayed, payoff.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Bekkala
It would be a difficult task to even find three musicians with voices as uniquely dissimilar as those of Trey Anastasio, Les Claypool, and Stewart Copeland, much less attempt to effectively fuse them together within the same band -- and yet, this is precisely what Oysterhead manages to pull off on their debut album, The Grand Pecking Order. Over the span of 13 tracks, the trio succeeds admirably at finding the common ground between their seemingly disparate styles. Make no mistake, the characteristic trademarks of each member are still firmly in place -- Anastasio's fluid guitar passages, Claypool's monstrous low-end bass tone, and Copeland's deft hi-hat and cymbal work -- but unlike many albums by previous supergroups, The Grand Pecking Order never becomes a joyless, ego-driven wank-fest. Quite the contrary, the musicians seem to be carefully listening and playing off of one another at all times -- and enjoying themselves doing so. This dedication injects electricity into the instrumental interplay and keeps the songs fresh and lively. Copeland in particular appears newly rejuvenated, playing with an inspired abandon unheard from him in years; his energetic drumming practically leaps out of the speakers right from the beginning of the first track onward. Because Anastasio and (especially) Claypool both possess unmistakable singing voices, the songs naturally tend to remind one of their respective bands, Phish and Primus, which on initial listening makes for a strangely unusual combination. Musically, however, Oysterhead rarely sounds like those groups; Anastasio's "Radon Balloon" and Claypool's "Shadow of a Man" are perhaps the only songs on the album that would fit comfortably alongside their previous material. With only two tracks exceeding five minutes in length, the group never loses sight of instilling concise, catchy hooks into their tunes, whether it's the bouncy funk of "Mr. Oysterhead," the circular melodies of "Owner of the World," or the whimsical "Birthday Boys." Ultimately, The Grand Pecking Order provides a great number of satisfying moments and should be of considerable interest to fans of Anastasio, Claypool, and Copeland.
Blender - J.D. Considine
There’s definitely something super about this group.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/02/2001
Label:
Elektra / Wea
UPC:
0075596267724
catalogNumber:
62677

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5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have heard it in advance. It is truly incredible! A must own even if you don't like Primus, Phish or The Police. If you're a fan of those bands, then I don't need to tell you to get it. All those great songs previously available only in traded live format, sound awesome polished up in the studio.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I got tickets to Oysterhead's Halloween show in Denver, Colorado about a month ago... I had originally hoped that Trey and Les might be apt to cover a bunch a songs, much like Phish would do on Halloween. After seeing Claypool's band Colonel Claypools Flying Frog Brigade and listening to his covers of the Stones, Floyd and the Beatles, I thought...damn...Halooween is going to be amazaing. After listening to this album I hope they don't play any covers. It rocks!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Put three of the best musicians together and what do you get, but Mr. Oysterhead. This is not a Phish, Primus, or Police album, but is music for use to all appreciate...as the radio song indicates...HE IS AN INSPIRATION TO US ALL (Mr. Oysterhead that is)!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
When you take 3 amazing musicians like this your need to jam is taken over by a new and different experience the outcome is great. this bad and cd is excellent.