It's easy to be complacent with side projects. At worst, they're self indulgent jam sessions repackaged and sold to indifferent masses. At best, they tend to be self indulgent jam sessions repackaged and sold to the accumulative fanbase of assembled band members.
Where it seems to differ with the side projects of Mastodon band members, is they really seem to be collaborative outlets for their versatility when they know full well it wouldn't really sound right on a Mastodon album.
Legend of the Seagullmen is one of the many side projects of Mastodon guitarist Brent Hinds who, along with Off! guitarist Dimitri Coats and Tool drummer Danny Carey have created a strange and unusual, yet wholly satisfying album of flotsam and jetsam that is proving to be one of the year's most unexpected listens.
Unexpected in the sense that considering the members, one might have preconceived notions of a more manic off-the-chain type of vibe, but the songs present themselves as measured and restrained and, it goes without saying, nautical in theme.
When Mastodon announced their spring tour with Primus there were many fans of both that were left scratching their heads as to the reasoning behind the pairing. Legend of the Seagullmen is the answer to such questions. A Rosetta Stone of sorts bridging that gap of understanding between the two worlds.
Too abstract? Ok. The album rocks. It's got Hinds and Carey, for god's sake. What did you expect? All you need to do is hear tracks like "Curse of the Red Tide" and "The Orca" to understand what they're trying to accomplish.
What's also evident is that they're having a whole lot of fun with these tunes. It's got a deliberate, relaxed vibe yet is totally reminiscent of the great 70s metal bands like Sabbath and Rainbow. No wheel reinventing here, but certainly enough of an original concept to hopefully keep the band afloat between its members respective touring cycles.