Beanpole – Farmer Loved An Onion

Beanpole is a kind of hybridized project. This is the kind of music that happens when members of Primus and Spent Poets combine energy to produce music that could only be made if, well, if members of Primus and Spent Poets combined energies. Last week the band announced that their previously unreleased album, All My Kin, would be released on August 31 via Sean Lennon’s Chimera Label.

The album has an unusual history in that it was previously overlooked by the band’s label. Legend tells of how Les Claypool attempted to release ten-years worth of Beanpole material via his own label, Prawn Song. Having delivered the tracks to the mastering studio on a bunch of dusty DATs and worn-out cassettes, the response from company executives was ‘poor’, and the artist was released from his business relationship with the distribution company. Effectively, this marked the end of Prawn Song, and placed the material in a dark, almost-forgotten corner.

Thankfully, the universe has a way of celebrating the odd. It was during The Claypool Lennon Delirium tour of 2016 that Mr. Claypool played the tapes to Mr. Lennon, and the decision was made to share the songs with the wider public. The first of the songs, “Farmer Loved An Onion” has been shared by way of teasing expectations.

If this track measures the scale of the album we’re in for good things. Sometimes through his career Claypool has been charged as being willfully obtuse, but here the atmosphere is balanced between odd and accessible. There’s a relaxed and natural atmosphere to the tune. The piano part alone, which sometimes sounds like it’s been played underwater, is wonderful. “Farmer loved an onion, it’s skin was very clear, it had so many layers, he had to shed a tear!” is a line that describes what we’re dealing with. There’s a lovely thread here that sees farmers marrying and breeding with their produce. They produce more produce. Get it.  Claypool described the sound; “…if Fellini, Dali, and Captain Kangaroo got together in their teens and ate peyote, this is the album they would have recorded.” So, yeah, that’s cleared it up for you.

There’s seriousness too. In speaking on his decision to release the album Sean Lennon described the concept, and the significance of subject matter; “It’s a concept album for post-modern America. It chronicles the epic tale of Chicken Boy and his dangerously interrelated family. Years of isolation have resulted in the birth of a child who is part man and part poultry. Despite obvious adoration for their uniquely feathered offspring, having fallen upon hard times they consider the unthinkable: will Chicken Boy be sacrificed to feed his hungry family?”


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