Its been 15 years since we have had a full length album of original material from A Perfect Circle, and I think we can agree that those 15 years have felt agonizing, wondering if we would ever get that elusive third studio album.
But fear not, our prayers have been answered, A Perfect Circle are well and truly reborn, and with an astonishing new album Eat the Elephant. When it comes to Maynard James Keenan, A perfect Cirle have always been my prefered drug of choice, as I once described them ‘They are like Tool, but if they wrote dark pop songs’ and that is not a slight at all.
Its worth noting that A Perfect Circle 2018 is a very different prospect to their 2003 counterpart. a lot of growing up and mellowing out has happened in that point, most noticably in the music department. This is a very stripped down album that could have almost been a full acoustic release. The gothic leanings have been cut back in favour of more soulful sumptious melodies and a far more straightforward approach.
The album opener and title track brings to mind Portishead being covered in a jazz club, which is a lovely as you would imagine it being. The Doomed, the first track released from the album is the heaviest and most apocalyptic thing here, and it recalls moments from the bands Mer De Noms era, its beautiful and crushing at the same time, but chances are you know that already.
So long, and thanks for all the fish is A Perfect Circle at their most pop, and sounds like a bitter Flaming Lips with sharp ascerbic lyrics wrapped around a twinkly lo fi pop melody, it shows yet another side to the band and is a welcome moment of uplifting joy that brings a smile to the face and lives up to its quirky name.
DLB is an instrumental that doesn’t really add much, but also does not detract from things either, it just serves to break up the album a bit, and leads into Hourglass which features some rather bizarre electonically enhanced vocals from Maynard, its jarring, but somehow works in the context of the song.
Eat the Elephant is an album that requires some work from it’s audience. It’s full of layers and depth, and will pull you back in for repeated listens on hopes that you will find more of its hidden treasures over time. A Perfect Circle have always been an enigma and one of the most special bands ever assembled and Eat the Elephant is proof of that, ethereal and enticing whilst also managing to be both embracing and vulnerable, Its one of the most poignant albums of the year and a welcome return to form from a band that many thought we’d never hear new music from again.