A Perfect Circle – Eat The Elephant
Released: 20th April 2018
A Perfect Circle:
Maynard James Keenan – Vocals
Billy Howerdel – Guitar
James Iha – Guitar
Matt McJunkins – Bass
Jeff Friedl – Drums
Expectation is the burden of many a band. Multiplied over a sustained duration and you’ve got the equivalent of Firefly fans jacking it over the idea of a season two. So here it is, a solid fifteen years since the release of the amazing The Thirteenth Step, A Perfect Circle find themselves on the cusp of rebranding themselves with the release of Eat The Elephant.
So what does it mean to be A Perfect Circle in 2018?
Opener and title track ‘Eat The Elephant’ perfectly exemplifies the album as an entire entity. Bringing the piano and vocals to the fore, whilst guitars are used more to provide atmospheric nuance as opposed to the heavy onslaught found on Mer De Noms. Maynard’s lyrics are as eccentric as ever, with this song, in particular, appearing to reflect on death – a somewhat recurring motif within the album as a whole.
Subsequent song ‘Disillusioned’ follows along the same lines with hypnotic keys adding a greater sense of grandeur, whilst the soaring guitar melodies transport you into a world of introspection. It’s the perfect song for those times you’re on the verge of tears and want to down a bottle of red. Preferably from Keenan’s own vineyard.
The heaviness of old returns in a new form with ‘The Doomed’ a song about Keenan’s own view of our modern world. Heavy on the drums and with a driving guitar line powering through, it’s exactly what you need when you’re standing on a cliff, witnessing the end of the world. The final moments of this song will threaten to swallow you whole.
All bets are off once we hit ‘So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish’ a song which has more in common with Depeche Mode than classic A Perfect Circle and yet it works in all the ways it should. Opening with electronics, before morphing once the guitar lines kick in, sending the song soaring into the stratosphere. Lyrically Keenan references everything from Carrie Fisher to David Bowie and crafts some of the most exquisite lyrical content of his career.
There’s just so much to love on this album. Standout song ‘By And Down The River’ makes a return on the album, retooled for this release, it’s a slower, more introspective number this time around, with the haunting vocal lines of Keenan intact. It’s a slow descent into sadness, as it reaches the crescendo and pulls you into the abyss. My personal highlight, however, is the amazing ‘Hourglass’ – heavy on the electronics and making about as much sense as Donald Trump presidency, it’s an intoxicating amalgamation of everything this album does so well. It’s just utterly jaw-dropping.
Overall this album is undeniably A Perfect Circle.
However, this is not the band you once knew. There is very little to relate this band to the one who recorded Mer De Noms, so if that’s what you’re looking for, this is probably not the record for you. But if you’re looking for something a little more mellow, slightly moodier and containing one of the best vocalists in music. This album might be just what you’re looking for.
Given the time, this album will be seen as every bit as important as their previous efforts.
A Perfect Circle – Eat The Elephant tracklisting
1. Eat the Elephant
4. The Doomed
5. So Long, And Thanks For All the Fish
7. By and Down the River
12. Get the Lead Out