Truly, one of the most surprising and enjoyable collaborations of the past couple years has been the musical coming together of Sean Lennon and Les Claypool as the Claypool Lennon Delirium. The singer/songwriter and prodigious Primus bass player have taken the genre of psychedelic music into new and exciting territory with their collaboration.
When it comes to Les Claypool his slinky and virtuosic bass playing is only matched by his cartoonish delivery in both his storytelling and nasally vocal delivery. But within this musical partnership with the youngest son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono(and a prodigious musician and songwriter in his own right), Claypool has found a musical brother. Their brand of psychedelic music is far more classicist than nostalgia. Lennon and Claypool take the true essence of the mid-to-late 60s psych and add a fantastical, majestic pop lean to it. The results are truly a stunning concoction that’s part Sgt. Pepper and part The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators.
In 2016 the guys released their debut Monolith of Phobos. That album was equal parts classic psych and progressive rock and solidified The Claypool Lennon Delirium as true purveyors of mind-altering sounds. We now have their sophomore release, the exquisite and kaleidoscopic South Of Reality. This record takes what came before it and magnifies it. This is progressive and psych rock at its finest.
South Of Reality is filled with epic psych jams and incense-laced pop nuggets, sometimes both in the same track. Album opener “Little Fishes” waxes and wanes between Yes progressive tendencies and Kinks pastoral pop. “Blood and Rockets: Movement I/Saga of Jack Parsons/Movement II/Too the Moon” is an epic piece of psych rock. Sean Lennon does resemble his famous dad when it comes to his vocal delivery, so that adds a bit of historical heaviness to the track, as if papa Lennon took a left turn into King Crimson territory in the 70s. This doesn’t distract, though. Soon enough you’re taken by the groove and take the ride.
One of the absolute standouts here is the progressive wonder of “Amethyst Realm”. It’s nearly 8 minutes of Red-era King Crimson angularity and spacebo funk. Sean Lennon and Les Claypool should be doing nothing else but making music like this track. It’s pure brilliance.
Over the course of nearly 50 minutes, The Claypool Lennon Delirium re-write and re-configure what it means to be a psych rock band. They travel the far reaches of space and back, coloring South Of Reality with every crayon in the collection. The results are out of sight.
8.2 out of 10