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A Perfect Circle Return To Take Over The World And Eat The Elephant

A Perfect Circle “Eat The Elephant” Album Review

The more than decade old question of which of Maynard James Keenan’s bands would release a new album first, Tool or A Perfect Circle, has finally been answered! Both Tool and APC are known for taking their time in between the handful of records both bands have released. This has been rumored to be because of Keenan’s busy schedule, as well as the members as a whole being perfectionist. Never mind the reason – what’s important is the question has been answered… the answer is A Perfect Circle!

A Perfect Circle formed in 1999 thanks to Keenan and guitarist/songwriter Billy Howerdel. They found success with their debut album Mer De Noms, lead by the album’s rocky and controversial single “Judith”. From then on the band has played countless sold out tours around the world and even made appearances on late night shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live.  

Now after 14 years, founding members Billy Howerdel and co-writer Maynard James Keenan have returned, alongside them is guitarist James Iha, bassist Matt Mcjunkins, and drummer Jeff Friedl. The band’s fourth album Eat The Elephant will be released via record label BMG on April 20th.

To be clear, right off the bat, Eat The Elephant is not Mer De Noms or even Thirteenth Step, and that makes me happy. After nearly 15 years I wouldn’t want to hear those same records in the new material, clearly neither did A Perfect Circle. Eat The Elephant instead is its own kind of masterpiece – just like its predecessors. The album, I feel, needs to be enjoyed straight through as a whole. This is because the songs flow together flawlessly and listening to the them in the order it was intended to be heard gives you a much larger appreciation for it as a body of work. “ETE” is like an extraordinary museum collection and if one of those paintings is missing, it disrupts the feeling it’s intended to produce. It’s also very important to drop the expectation of Eat The Elephant being a duplication of APC’s previous work; that’s not to say it still doesn’t have elements reminiscent of older A Perfect Circle but for the most part it’s a whole new kind of album. It’s definitely not a hard rock record and I would struggle to say even a rock album, but why should we have to classify a work of art?

The album’s title track “Eat The Elephant” begins with Howerdel dropping his guitar for some strikingly beautiful piano, this is the first example of how mellow “Eat The Elephant” can be. Maynard’s voice is unlike I’ve ever heard it, he often chooses higher vibrato notelings to express the song’s lyrics.

The album’s second track “Disillusioned” feels much more familiar to what you may expect from A Perfect Circle especially if you were a fan of Thirteenth Step but then the song enters a piano stage again following the songs chorus. The sound a little mix that reminds me of The Beatles or even a bit Pink Floyd style wise and then before you mind bend yourself questioning that thought the song returns to its distinct thematic APC style. Elements of these songs draw inspiration musically and even sometimes vocally from APC’s Emotive album and it’s not a stretch to say some of Maynard’s solo project work with Puscifer may have found its way into songs.

A Perfect Circle – The Doomed (Official Music Video)

“The Doomed”, which is one of the album’s singles, shines a little heaviness on a rather so far mellow sounding album. The song is one of the, if not the, heaviest song on the album which may lead you to think this is where the album takes a turn towards a rock record but it doesn’t and for me that’s A-Ok! Instead the fourth album maintains its own lane in a chilled out and slowly diverse fashion reminiscent of the opening title track.

One of my favorite and possibly most brilliant songs on Eat The Elephant is a song called “So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish”. The song begins with a pretty, happier feel with Maynard almost singing in nursery rhyme style and it’s damn catchy at that. The song seems to be about the world’s obsession with material things like money and fame but also time being wasted on the media’s distractions towards the worlds real issues. Lyrics like “Time is money and money’s time, we wasted every second dime on diets, lawyers, shrinks” these are all clear indications of Maynards disgust for what humanity thinks is important. The song features early APC sounding drums and in moments Howerdel’s memorable guitar sound. Comedic style elements to lyrics like “Hip Hip Hooray” help make you smile a little during serious topics.

Photo by: Diane Woodcheke

For those of you who may be uninterested in the bands evolution, song’s like “Delicious” and “Hourglass” are probably the closest you will get to scratching that old sound itch. Throughout the album you’ll notice political overtones and thoughts on human behavior; mostly subtle and relatable especially if you’re living in America. Lyrics like “We have been overrun by our animal desire” and  “Time to put the silicone obsession down, take a look around” are cries for an awakening within humanity.

Now I know this album won’t be for everyone and many will say it’s too slow, too different etc… To me throughout Eat The Elephant’s 12 songs, I feel the band did a great job bringing something new and refreshing to the table. I highly respect the fact that they didn’t try or settle to make an album that sounds like one they released in the year 2000. A Perfect Circle step out of their perceived comfort zone and once again push boundaries and expectations. Though your first thought may be it doesn’t live up to previous albums, I highly encourage you to clear your mind and listen to the album all the way through, several times, enjoy the ride Maynard and Howerdel intend you to go on through the music and understand the songs and the album as a whole. I can’t say this is their best work and honestly that’s not for me to decide but it certainly didn’t disappoint me, rather opposite actually. Eat The Elephant is 100% worth your time, I also believe the album will age like fine wine (https://caduceus.org/) .

Besides the new album, A Perfect Circle will be spending some time on the road both in the U.S and Internationally. Dates include stops at some of Spring/Summer’s biggest festivals like Coachella, Northern Invasion and Rock on the Range. For more information visit the band’s website www.aperfectcircle.com.

 

Eat The Elephant will be released on April 20th and is available for Pre-order Here.

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