PUSCIFER play the Sony Centre on November 18. See listing. Rating: NNN
Puscifer are often sold as Maynard James Keenan's light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek side project, an antidote to the almost painful earnestness of his more famous project, Tool, and his alt-rock offshoot, A Perfect Circle. That may apply to the goofy album art and oddball, cabaret-inspired live show, but despite a more eclectic stylistic palette, his sophomore Puscifer album is just as moody and dramatic as those other projects.
Opener Tiny Monsters does a good job of gradually building steam, introducing little bits of synth and percussion before the guitars kick in. Horizons adds some glitchy electronics, while closer Tumbleweed even includes some slow, mournful banjo. But followers of Keenan's work won't be surprised by his histrionic singing style, heavy industrial textures or apocalyptic lyrics (see The Rapture). That will be good news for superfans patiently awaiting the next Tool album, but not for anyone hoping to catch Keenan taking himself less seriously.
Top track: Man Overboard