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Puscifer, ‘Conditions of My Parole’ – Album Review

Maynard James Keenan is the king of multitasting, as he juggles frontman duties with A Perfect Circle, Tool and his electro-rock baby Puscifer. Earlier this year, as if dates with the rekindled A Perfect Circle weren’t enough, Keenan hid out in his wine-cellar-turned-studio and reappeared with Puscifer’s second studio LP, the musically star-studded ‘Conditions of My Parole.’

On ‘Conditions,’ Keenan and his crew of over a dozen musicians paint artsy, intricate vignettes, from the heavy industrial vibe of “Telling Ghosts” to the classical guitar and folk nature of “Horizons.” Musically, the groove is a large draw, with purposely hook-less song-making with no worry about verses, choruses or conventional song form. Fans of A Perfect Circle might miss Billy Howerdel’s towering arrangements, but there’s plenty to like on ‘Conditions,’ too.

While Maynard is at the forefront, his talented A-list of contributors add an invaluable sonic landscape. The Puscifer family packs former Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodor, ASHES dIVIDE drummer Jeff Friedl and bassist Matt McJunkins, British singer-songwriter Carina Round, Bat for Lashes percussionist Sarah Jones and, as with Puscifer’s first release, a few appearances from Keenan’s son Devo. Round’s supporting vocals provide the perfect counterpoint to Keenan’s haunting croons on songs such as “Telling Ghosts” and “Green Valley.”

On ‘Conditions,’ it’s apparent Keenan can put together and eclectic, attractive solo effort that has little, if not nothing, in common with the progressive, storming art rock of his original band, Tool, or the alt-pop structures of his other blockbuster group, A Perfect Circle. Puscifer embark on a North American tour in November, and find tour dates, here.

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