Puscifer album "Money Shot" reviewed by Kendel Lester from The Fox & The Hounds
Well, I must be living under a rock, because I sat down and put on Puscifer’s new album, Money Shot, glass of wine in hand, I quickly though “wait a minute, I know that voice!” Low and behold Puscifer is another band fronted by the very awesome and extremely talented Maynard James Keenan, probably better known for being the lead singer of Tool. I can’t believe I’m just discovering this band now and feel a little chagrined with myself for not being a more studious and diligent music junkie.
I must say, Money Shot is an interesting album that takes some very beautiful and sometimes very violent left turns; probably best enjoyed with eyes closed, lights dimmed and perhaps a bit of herbal refreshment.
Upon viewing the bawdy and raucous cover photo for the album (and having at this point knowing nothing about the band) I was thoroughly expecting some honky tonk party music, but was pleasantly surprised when I heard layers of atmospheric synth set under an electronic drum groove and that low and gnarly guitar.
Like Tool, Puscifer likes to mix in electronic elements with real and sometimes heavily distorted instrumentation, but the similarities between the two bands pretty much stop there. Money Shot’s opening track, "Galileo", sets up the ten song set with a landscape of sound ripe with imagery- it’s clear this music is meant to send you off to dreamland and then smack you in the face a couple times to wake you up. Keenan and female singer, Carina Round’s voices pair so nicely together – his growing from smooth satin to an overpowering growl and hers, soft and airy, almost angelic in its quality, with some of their harmonies reminding me of indie duo, Eisley and the more well known, Arcade Fire (albeit, AF’s more distant, peculiar and eccentric second cousin).
While the first four tracks of Money Shot take you on an ethereal and spiritual journey, blending eastern influence with modern day grunge, they quickly pump the breaks and unleash the real meat and potatoes of the album with the title track "Money Shot", "The Arsonist" and "The Remedy". It’s clear that under all that Zen, Maynard James Keenan has some anger he’d like to get off his chest. With lyrics like “your social skills resemble arson” and “you speak like someone who has never been smacked in the fucking mouth” Keenan wails about the disconnection and entitlement our society faces, living in a world where we try to define ourselves in 140 characters or less.
It’s no surprise that the musicianship on Money Shot is stellar, in particular the tribal and omnipresent drumming of Jon Theodore and Tim Alexander. This is an album that when listened to in its entirety (which I strongly encourage) takes the listener on a very serpentine and cathartic journey. While this isn’t an album I would pop in while cruising on a summer day, its wonderful winter weather fare and will even be enough to placate Tool fans until the much talked about fifth album arrives. I am happy to discover such an interesting array of songs and an artist that is willing to explore all creative mediums with integrity, determination and brazen. So, when you’re done looking at videos of cats and pictures of other people’s food, get a download of Money Shot, a bottle of Keenan’s own Caduceus red wine, lie back, and enjoy this vicious and beautiful new music from Puscifer.
Author: Kendel Lester