Sunday, February 17, 2013
Ahh, good independent music. Something that doesn't come around very often. Maynard James Keenan of Tool and A Perfect Circle understands good independent music by way of his least commercial group Puscifer.
Maynard James Keenan is the only permanent member of the group, however his road band often includes members of A Perfect Circle. Last year, the group released the fantastic Conditions of My Parole marrying rock to electronica in a way that few other groups could do.
Puscifer is back for 2013 with a new EP called Donkey Punch the Night. The 8 song EP will be released on Tuesday in the US, but for now, you can hear it streaming on many music sites.
After one listen, I can say that I am impressed. This collection follows in the footsteps of Conditions of my Parole only in that it still blends rock with electronica, however this time around, Keenan and company take a different approach in the types of songs. The Project opens with a cover of Queen's ambitious Bohemian Rhapsody. This track finds Maynard stretching his vocal range singing all parts. While he doesn't have the vocal range that Freddy Mercury had, it is very close. The track does little to make it a complete original, instead trying to stay close to the original.
8 tracks total on this project go from hard core keys and bass of the second track, to the 1980's feeling percussion of Dear Brother.
The project is satisfying from beginning to end. This shows yet again, that while Puscifer is a vent for some of Keenan's more avant garde work, it is not a collective for releasing throwaway tracks from Tool or A Perfect Circle. This group has it's own feel and it has it's own identity that is just as original as any of the bands that share Keenan as a member.
If you are looking for pure guitar driven rock, you might be better off looking elsewhere. What you will find here is great music. It is driving and sonically thunderous, but not because of screaming guitars, bass and drums. That is all there, but this project shows Keenan as a singer in a way that his other projects just don't do.
Besides Bohemian Rhapsody, which is present in two different mixes, a very 80's new wave take on Accept's classic rocker Balls To The Wall is also present. The arrangement remains closely in tune with that of the origial, but layering of vocals over synthesizers make it a track of it's own. Anyone familiar with Keenan's covers should expect this however by way of A Perfect Circle's eMOTIVe album which contained covers from Marvin Gaye, Depeche Mode, Elvis Costello and others.
This project will best be received by fans who enjoy remix projects that contain multiple versions of tracks. Two versions of each of the songs appear. 4 tracks with a remix of each.
Overall this is a solid project and it belongs in the collection of any Puscifer fan. Check it out. You won't be sorry.