It has been over 14 years now since we have seen a full studio album from A Perfect Circle. This, in part, may be because vocalist Maynard James Keenan stated that Billy Howerdel had been cryogenically frozen in an experiment conducted by a partnership between the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame and Dairy Queen. Fortunately, his resurrection was successful, and once again began collaborating with Keenan to produce Eat the Elephant.
The opening title track, “Eat the Elephant”, sets the tone for the album as a whole – a series of contrasts. It is mellow with a mild heaviness, depressive with a touch of joy. “Disillusioned” ups the tempo a tad but keeps to the theme of installing into the listener conflicting emotions. Howerdel seems to favour a more piano-led recording than on previous releases and, as a result, it is at times difficult to differentiate between songs; not to mention easy to get lost in the album when accompanied by Keenan’s hypnotic voice. In fact, Eat the Elephant as a whole is like falling into a peaceful void with no perceived end.
There are tracks on Eat the Elephant that come close to “heavier” with hits of hard rock (see “The Doomed” and “TalkTalk”), but they don’t fully cross the line, instead choosing to provide the listener with a small taste before once again returning to a mellower sound. The only songs that could potentially fall under the banner of a “normal” rock tune are “Delicious” and “Hourglass”, but let’s face it, if you are listening to the likes of A Perfect Circle, do you really want normal? Case in point – my personal favorite track comes in the form of a delightful tribute to Douglas Adams, author of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, entitled “So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish”. It is more upbeat than most of the record, and also gives a strong sense of nostalgia to those who, like me, are fans of the comedy/sci-fi classic – as well as being completely unexpected for an A Perfect Circle release!
Those looking for something similar to previous A Perfect Circle offerings might be disappointed as Eat the Elephant takes a very different journey. If, however, you are looking to lose yourself in a beautiful, yet dark and gloomy void, grab a copy, head home, and for about an hour, shut out the world to experience fully the emotions within.
Eat the Elephant Track Listing:
01. Eat the Elephant
03. The Contrarian
04. The Doomed
05. So Long, and Thanks for all The Fish
07. By and Down the River
12. Get the Lead Out
Run Time: 57:09
Release Date: April 20, 2018
Check out the official video for “The Doomed” single here.