Fourteen years. That's how long it has been since we've had an album from A Perfect Circle, the supergroup fronted by Tool's Maynard James Keenan.
In 1999, Tool had released one EP and two studio albums for the decade, and there were strong indications that there wouldn't be new Tool material while the band was tied-up in record company contracts. So a side project from one of the greatest lead vocalists in rock was more than welcome. And while the lyrics in APC songs are not as complex or as profoundly pretentious as Tool songs, thunderous musicianship and atypical time signatures are still employed. Take their latest track, Talk Talk. It's an incredibly well-timed song about the uselessness of "thoughts and prayers," and has references to Christ that Keenan has done before. But what makes the song good is its use of the 3/4 time signature. Guitarist Billy Howerdel and company made the song ready for recording when they switched the tempo from 4/4 to 3/4.
I thought this band was dead. I had forgotten that one of the greatest guitarists of the 1990s, James Iha, had joined A Perfect Circle in 2003. The 90s was a decade full of virtuoso guitarists, and I had simply assumed that the band would never record original songs with Iha. But then, in December 2017, this dark song dropped. A Perfect Circle had returned with dark tracks for these very dark times. I love The Doomed because, well, we are doomed.
Keenan is having one of the busiest years of his life. The new APC album comes in April. He and his Tool bandmates are almost ready to record their fifth album (and first in twelve years). And he might be recording new tracks with his other side project, Puscifer, now.