The multiple styles in which Maynard James Keenan can successfully work in is astonishing; eir latest work as Puscifer, Conditions of My Parole, should show that. Green Valley is one early-disc track that will immediately impact listeners – the dual-part harmony achieved with Carina Round rivals the traditional instrumentation for dominance. Man Overboard is the closest thing to a single that Conditions of My Parole has, but this is for good reason. While Green Valley was focused in on the vocal side of things, the drums on Man Overboard force the album back to the other pole.
Rather than focusing in on a blend of these two distinct styles, Puscifer is able to spin off onto different trajectories. Horizons is a softly-stated track, one in which listeners need nothing more than James’ voice, a guitar, and a thunderous drum line. Tumbleweed is the final track on Conditions of My Parole, and showcases a little bit from each of the previous tracks – Carina Round makes it back on this track, while the drums further bolster the arrangement. The inclusion of a banjo onto Tumbleweed showcases that an old dog can learn new tricks – while the instrument itself is very distinct, James’ skill as a musician makes it work alongside the rest of Puscifer’s sound.
Fans that just want to hear a new Tool album may not be easily able to get behind Conditions of My Parole, but I feel that there is an evolutionary shift towards more intricate and touching types of music on this album. Buy Conditions of My Parole, see the act live, and see how things shift and change for their overall style in the next few years.
Top Tracks: Telling Ghosts, The Rapture (Fear Is Mind Killa Mix)
Puscifer – Conditions of My Parole (CD) / 2011 / 12 Tracks / http://www.puscifer.com /