Monolith of Phobos

In one of the more surprising partnerships in recent rock history, omnipresent freak-funk bassist Les Claypool (of Primus) and songwriter Sean Lennon have joined forces, and the results on Monolith of Phobos are quite good. There are similarities with some of Claypool’s previous atmospheric, bass-led sound collages, such as on the album’s title track, but this is also a more mature Claypool and presumably a more experimental Lennon. Both have locked into a maelstrom of musical strangeness that hits on psychedelic otherness. And on tunes like the Lennon-sung “Cricket and the Genie (Movement I, The Delirium),” a song about a patron saint of prescription drugs that explores the dark side of dependency in progressive strokes of musical mayhem, the duo is a match made in outsider heaven. Lennon’s guitar playing and drumming complement Claypool’s low end with surprising deftness, giving weirdly melodic legs to songs as oddly arranged as the instrumental closer “There’s No Underwear in Space” or the David Gilmour-ish rocker “Boomerang Baby.”