Release Date: Oct 18, 2011
Record label: Puscifer
A place for Tool and A Perfect Circle frontman Maynard James Keenan’s musical explorations, Puscifer is a project that, by its very nature, has that free association vibe around it. On his second album under the Puscifer moniker, Conditions of My Parole, Keenan continues to his unfettered explorations, seeing where a sound will take him without being tied down by the expectations that would be present if he released these songs with any of his other projects. A departure from the angst of Tool and the esoteric darkness of A Perfect Circle, the synth-heavy album has a more autumnal feeling about it, combining layers of electronic ambience and programmed drums with the singer's yearning vocals to create a kind of cold loneliness.
PUSCIFER play the Sony Centre on November 18. See listing. Rating: NNN Puscifer are often sold as Maynard James Keenan's light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek side project, an antidote to the almost painful earnestness of his more famous project, Tool, and his alt-rock offshoot, A Perfect Circle. That may apply to the goofy album art and oddball, cabaret-inspired live show, but despite a more eclectic stylistic palette, his sophomore Puscifer album is just as moody and dramatic as those other projects.
Puscifer is where Tool and A Perfect Circle frontman/celebrity wine enthusiast Maynard James Keenan goes when he really wants to get weird. Puscifer albums, as strange as they are, usually follow a familiar pattern and the occasionally awesome Parole is no exception: There are lots of crack session players, this time including Brit singer Carina Round, a ’90s industrial-meets-goth-meets-lounge vibe, and lots of vagina metaphors. Sometimes (like on the serpentine first single “Man Overboard”) it’s jaw dropping.
V Is for Vagina, the unfortunately titled full-length debut of Maynard James Keenan’s electro-rock project Puscifer had all the makings of a joke album, but some irresistible grooves made it more than a genitalia joke-laden novelty. Four years later, Puscifer is back with Conditions of My Parole, which, according to Keenan, is “like Twin Peaks in the desert.” Along with the man of seemingly endless talents for his strange desert journey is an impressive array of contributing artists including members of Bat for Lashes, The Mars Volta, and The Dillinger Escape Plan. Album cover and project name aside, what is immediately apparent on Conditions is a more serious tone in comparison to V Is for Vagina.