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Design By Humans
Published On: Mon, Jun 11th, 2018

A Perfect Circle: Eat The Elephant

A Perfect Circle
Eat the Elephant
(BMG)

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Given A Perfect Circle’s hiatus I wasn’t sure what to expect with this album, having only been familiar with Mer De Noms. They’ve had a couple of live releases, an album of covers, as well as a Mer De Noms remix album, but Eat The Elephant is their first new release since 2003’s Thirteenth Step. This is also the first time the band has worked with producer David Stuart Sardy (more commonly known as D. Sardy), who has also worked with Wolfmother, Marilyn Manson, LCD Soundsystem, and Oasis among others. 

The album opens with the title track, a surprisingly slow, piano-driven ballad with softer vocals showcasing a more melodic (and often forgotten) part of Maynard James Keenan’s versatile range. The next track, “Disillusioned” brings us back to more familiar ground. The vocals stay light, but this time they’re strengthened by keys and a chorus reminiscent of Mer De Noms. The aptly named “Doomed” creates a cinematic intensity with bass and drums building around lyrics wrought with religious imagery and a symphonic metal influence. “TalkTalk” is another standout and Maynard’s best vocal performance on this album.

However, this is where the cohesion of the album begins to get shaky. “So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish,” one of the album’s singles, starts with a chorus reminiscent of early 2000’s indie bands and launches into an anthem of sorts so upbeat it’s baffling. Don’t get me wrong. It sounds great, but it just doesn’t sound like A Perfect Circle. “Hourglass” is similarly out of place. It’s catchy, but jarring with its dark-electro lurch and heavily processed vocals. The keys, vocals, and minimalism of “DLB” and “Get The Lead Out” are beautiful, but leave the listener hanging.

With all due respect to A Perfect Circle and the risks they take with trying new things, Eat The Elephant has its moments, but it lacks consistency as a whole album. The production value is solid, but too many of the songs feel like they came from different bands. Thatbeing said, there are still a handful of memorable songs. And if you’ve ever wanted to hear Maynard go mellow, this is the one.

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A Perfect Circle: Eat The Elephant