When you hear the name Maynard James Keenan, what comes to mind? Well of course the almighty Tool and the equally as powerful A Perfect Circle, but what else? Maynard has been one of the most influential musicians on the Rock scene the early '90's and equally one of the most enigmatic guys on the planet. Add in a successful winery and his far reaching and never ending quest to be creative and artistic and this is where the vision of Puscifer begins to take shape.
The 6 song, downloadable ONLY EP entitled (ready kids?!), C is for (Please Insert Sophomoric Genitalia Reference Here) is a best described as a true Californian's trippy expression of what is in his head on a daily basis and doesn't fit into the (pun intended) Tool box or APC venture. Now I will tell you that it has taken your humble reviewer quite a few spins to try and get a grasp on this effort. At first listen you obviously get that this isn't anything close to the bands that put him on the map, which is actually very cool, but it is almost ambient music that will very easily meld itself into the background of what ever you might be doing at the moment, if you don't pay strict attention. As mentioned, a few turns of the 6 songs are mandatory.
"Polar Bear", starts off this eerily dark and dank EP that you will find filled with Electronica painted landscapes and Maynard's patented passionately crooned vocals. Underneath there are metallic tinged percussion that provides that necessary pulse that blends the industrial and the artistic. The surprise on this EP is the 2nd track entitled, "The Mission", featuring the appearance of movie star, Milla Jovovich! With its haunting, marching shuffle, Jovovich sings with quite an attitude and confidence that I wouldn't have expected and sharing the vocals right along side Maynard and makes this song her own. Quite a surprise to me and a damn fine job, in my opinion. It's an odd type of song to begin with, but add in this strange duet and it seems to work perfectly. In the middle of the EP you have 2 live songs, "Momma Sed" and "Vagina Mine". "Momma Sed" has a very A Perfect Circle-ish chorused accompanied guitar with Fusiony, avant-garde percussion and octaved, detuned guitar passages throughout, while "Vagina Mine" finds Maynard again sharing vocal duties with another female voice with this song being the closest in structure to APC. This is the most straight forward Rock track on the EP, where the Electronica takes a backseat, but the anguish and pain do not.
Puscifer is exactly what it is supposed to be; the quieter, softer side project and an outlet for Maynard James Keenan to uncover the ideas that overflow from his beautifully, misfit filled head. The man is simply one of our modern day genius' and with that comes strange, off kiltered expressions and music. After 5 or 6 listens, I was finally able to get a grasp on what was going on with C is for (Please Insert Sophomoric Genitalia Reference Here. It is a little bit experimental and a little bit pure expression, but it is 100% Maynard James Keenan. In plain speak, envision the softer, slightly weird side of A Perfect Circle and fuse it with the lighter side of Nine Inch Nails or Frontline Assembly and you're beginning to get the gist of it. There are sprinkles of greatness here and there are also dab's of self indulgence. But what the hell, he does manage to throw in the word vagina quite a lot!
1. Polar Bear
2. The Mission (Renholder Mix) featuring Milla Jovovich
3. Momma Sed "Alive @ Club Nokia"
4. Vagina Mine "Alive @ Club Nokia"
5. Potions (Deliverance Mix)
6. The Humbling River