A Perfect Circle Triumphs with Intriguing ‘Eat the Elephant’ – Review

2018-04-18

Review by Anne Erickson, photo by Tim Cadiente

Album Review: A Perfect Circle crafts beautiful orchestral rock on ‘Eat the Elephant’

A Perfect Circle has always mastered the art of dynamics, and that makes their signature sound anticipative, mysterious and explosive. Those dynamics are evident on “Eat the Elephant,” the new studio album from A Perfect Circle, due out Friday (April 20). With a blend of creeping, delicate instrumental passages and Maynard James Keenan’s empowering baritone vocals, “Eat the Elephant” is the kind of album A Perfect Circle fans have been hoping for since 2004’s “Emotive.”

“Eat the Elephant” opens with the album’s groovy title track, showcasing guitarist Billy Howerdel’s piano skills – a theme apparent throughout the album – and Keenan’s smooth voice caressing the lyrics, layering the sounds, “When to begin alludes me, and without you to remind me…just take the stand. Just take the swing…” A Perfect Circle’s stripped-down style has always been a perfect showcase for Keenan’s pure vocals, and his singing shines more than ever on the album’s title track and subsequent songs.

The rest of the album takes the listener inside Howerdel’s wildly experimental instrumental vision and Keenan’s thoughts on everything from today’s smart phone society to our leaders—a complex presentation that ensures the album never get old, no matter how many listens. One stand-out – and one of my favorites songs on the set – is “The Contrarian,” which lightly twists and turns with Keenan’s breathy vocals and builds to an epic, explosive guitar-heavy climax. Tracks such as “By and Down” and “Get the Lead Out” remind the listener that, above all, A Perfect Circle, can craft beautiful orchestral rock.

“Eat the Elephant” has earned its spot as a fundamental part of any A Perfect Circle fan’s collection, whether they’re longtimers or new fans. While I hope the next A Perfect Circle album doesn’t drop more than a decade from now as this one did, if it does, “Eat the Elephant” has enough musical goodness and complexity to keep our ears intrigued for years to come.

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