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  • Ok I’ve read the reviews that have been posted so far on this page, and a mixed bunch they all are I must say. Not that that’s a bad thing, if anything I think this album was always gonna get mixed receptions on its release.
    One thing I think we all have to realise is that there are always going to be two types of person who listen to APC, and indeed any band in this particular vein (or is that artery?). There are people who listen to APC for the straight-from the balls basslines, the ever-increasingly haunting ambience from mr’s howerdel and iha and breathtaking drumming that really needs no description from an inept welk such as myself. Oh, and for maynard of course. I’m talking about the fans who are there for the music and the typically intoxicating aural epxerience of listening to the band. THEN there’s another group who enjoy this aspect of the band also, though perhaps go a little further than just whether it’s got a drumbeat you can go mental to or a screaming banshee of a guitar setup in songs like judith and pet. This group tends to listen a little more deeply and certainly takes account of the lyrics at least as much as the music itself. I mean, when the writing’s this good, why ignore it? I’m certainly a member of this latter group.
    In writing this I’m not trying to say one type of fan is better than the other; after all there’s f*** all wrong with surging along with the electricity created by a thousand APC fans in a dark, atmospheric venue in the heart of paris, with APC right in front of you, trust me on that one. But when it comes to an album like eMOTIVe, which, by very nature of containing protest songs, is going to be conveying a message to the listener, you really can’t afford to write off the songs on the basis of the musicality not being up to the heaviness of mer de noms or 13th step. I think I read one reviewer here who wrote that he never listens to lyrics or messages in songs, and that a beat and catchy guitar line is all that matters to him. In that case, why aren’t you listening to Busted? I’m not trying to be obtuse, but if what you say is true then you’re really missing half of what APC is all about. Surely you can’t be sitting there and telling me that after a fair few listens, you think this album is a let down? Not with a straight face anyway…
    First of all, anyone who’s a fan of tool (and I’m guessing a vast majority of you are) knows the depth and ethereal quality of keenan’s vocal range. I can’t therefore believe that anyone who claims to really listen to APC and tool could fail to be touched by the multi-dimensional sound created on ‘fiddle and the drum’, considering that’s just maynard’s voice laid over itself. And as for there being a lack of time shifts and impressive stickfiddlery from freese, just listen to ‘let’s have a war’; the guy practically makes the kit sound like bursts of gunfire going off around the guitars. “Drum whoring” pays off with this guy it would seem. Ok there are some songs that have come off not as well as others, and to be honest I still find ‘people are people’ a little awkward to listen to, but then maybe that says more about me as a listener than APC as a band. As far as I can see, not only has APC exceeded success in conveying to a modern audience the messages created by songs written when my mum was a wee lass, but they’ve also interwoven it all into an incredibly atmospheric, darkly colourful soundscape that makes me wish i had dolby 5.1 in my humble university room. ‘When the levee breaks’ is a perfect example of this, and it’s yet another shift from any sort of sound you’ve heard on Mer de Noms or 13th step. I like the fact billy howerdel steps up to the mic on a few songs too; it’s not like keenan’s the only voice you want to hear.
    In short, if you’re not prepared to lie back, turn the lights out and let this disc spin a fair few times before making a final decision, then i don’t think you’re gonna absorb the real substance that is just oozing from this album. Like the previous two, it really does demand your full attention. But hey, you guys listen to tool so you don’t need me to tell you that.
    As for this being the final full-length from APC before they split, I haven’t heard that, but with keenan off on tour with tool from early next year no doubt, it may be a while before we hear anything more from them. Hell, even if it is the end, this is a stellar album to go out on, and like someone said before, this is hardly easy listening for the conscience, but what perfect circle album is? These guys have constantly been evolving their sound as well as their ideas within art rock/metal, and with this as their latest message, they’ve not failed to live up to their reputation as one of the most important and original groups of their time.

    You’ve got two chances – you’ll either love and embrace it or you won’t.

    Posted on March 3, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Sooo this is A Perfect Circle’s 3rd album. I’ve seen many reviews here who seem to have to believe this CD should not be considered a “real” APC album due to it being mostly covers. I’ve also seen others who believe that the original versions of these songs are some kind of “hallowed ground” not to be tramped upon. I guess I don’t agree with either. Personally for me it matters little that these are covers, the reworking of them often leaves little but the lyrics and a slight hint of the original. This is actually great by me. I have no interest in listening to the original versions of Depeche Mode, John Lennon, Marvin Gaye or Black Flag whether “classic” songs or not. In almost all cases the music being heard is A Perfect Circle and that’s what I am interested in. What I find interesting is how different each of these 3 APC albums sound. The first was perhaps the closest to a hard rock band sound, the 2nd seemed to involve a bit more of psychedelia and the Cure, this new one seems more linked to the sound of NIN and Peter Gabriel. All of these sounds and styles to me are legitimate and well done. It is unfortunate when a band has an audience that NEEDS each album to sound like the others.

    Like others have mentioned people complained about the first album not being like Tool enough, then the 2nd wasn’t like the first album enough. Now of course this album isn’t like the 1st and 2nd enough. And the amazing thing is that somehow these so-called fans seriously believe these changes were not ON PURPOSE. It is truly ironic that fans continue to underestimate the intelligence of this band while the band perhaps overestimates the intelligence of their audience. Or maybe its not. Regardless this is a great album. Unique music, unique sounds and a move forward in APC’s progression.

    Am I hoping for a new APC of all original music? Sure. A concert DVD would be nice too, so would a new Tool CD and DVD. But considering how long it has been since I’ve bought anything new and interesting to listen to this CD will fill a void for at least a few more days until such new music comes into existence. When I heard that APC was releasing a CD of covers my expectations were greatly lowered, I have almost no interest in such things. But when confronted with the unique, original and intelligent arrangements the band found for these songs I was greatly impressed and surprised.

    All in all this is a highly worthy addition to APC’s catalog regardless of covers verses new material.

    Posted on March 3, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I don’t often write music reviews. I like what I like and I figure others are pretty much the same. Musical tastes are as varied as people, after all. I’m a child of the 80’s in music, who underwent a distinct broadening of tastes as I grew older from New Wave to New Age, Progressive, Punk, metal rock, classic rock, light jazz, Folk Music, Latin, classical music, Celtic, Asian, African – a distinct smattering of World Beat. I’ll give anything a try once — even Rap (didn’t stick, tho). But I grew up listening to my mother’s music: the Beatles, Roberta Flack, Don McLean, Carly Simon, Jim Croche, James Taylor, Joan Baez and Cat Stevens. Music to think by. Yet my brother and I taught her about Album Rock – explained Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” to her so she wasn’t so outraged over the song “Another Brick in the Wall Part 1″. I like to think I’ve been fairly muscially diverse over the years since, yet I’m still hanging on the fringes of popular rock – I still prefer what they brand as Alternative music these days.

    But I simply have to rec this album to everyone.

    Not because I’ll listen to it over and over and bop to it while driving down the road on a daily basis… because I won’t.

    But because it made my throat go tight. It made my heart ache in my chest and my eyes prickle. And it even made me sing along to the songs I know so well — and love so much — despite the twisted form they’ve taken here.

    Maybe you’ve heard APC and Maynard James Keenan’s slow dirge-like cover of John Lennon’s Imagine. Perhaps you were outraged, as I first was, when I heard it. A song of hope and peace and looking forward… turned into something dark and sinister and cynical. I love their version now too, even though it hurts so much to hear it each and every time…

    Because isn’t that what happened to Lennon’s dream? Isn’t that what’s happened to the bright underlying promise of the 60’s… the hope for peace and equality and understanding has become crushed by greed and fear and self-interest.

    Maynard and Co. don’t stop there, however. The whole album is a scathing repudiation of American apathy that unfortunately won’t get the airplay of Green Day’s bouncy, catchy “American Idiot”. And it should. But only as a whole album. And only with the Crisis Hotlines fully manned. It’s depressing as hell, poignant and heart-rending, this album. As a whole as well as individually — but mostly as a whole. It really needs to be listened to that way. To hear Elvis Costello’s “Peace Love and Understanding” turned into a lament, Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” into a frightened wail and Devo’s “Freedom of Choice” into a mocking ridicule – followed by the public domain but made famous by Led Zeppelin “When the Levee Breaks” – all of it chilling, lamentory and dark.

    It clubs you over the head with each song choice, each startling arrangement and with Maynard’s delicious voice twisted in ever so many disturbing ways. That fear is wrong, that letting others tell you how to live is cowardice, that war is evil and that hope… hope is hard to find these days. It’s a warning that you truly have to think for yourself and keep an open mind.

    Wake up, America. Listen. This entire album is a dirge for freedom, hope and peace.

    And no, it’s not easy to listen to. But it shouldn’t be. This is a challenge – a rub-it-in-your-face kind of one – to thinking people to wake up and look around them again.

    Unfortunately, the ones who need to hear this the most — aren’t going to listen. They’ll only hear the surface; and looking for escapism, they’ll miss the whole point.

    Posted on March 3, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • If you look over the reviews of this CD you see one thing. Politics and more politics. Almost every person who reviewed it and liked it spoke of liking the “protest” aspect of the CD. Everyone who reviewed it purely on musical merit or who disliked the political theme hated this CD. Simple fact is this was a lame effort by some really talented musicians. Politics aside they can do far better than this and perhaps they have made a second statement. That they can put out any trash as long as they dress it right people will buy it. Lets get serious. Owning every Tool and previous APC release before this I bought this without a second thought and without listening to a single track or reading a single review. If I could have found the reciept I’d have taken it back. I hated this CD and could care less about the politics of it. Musicially it is uninspiring. The sound just lays there with an occasional whimper. I really think APC made a bigger point with this release than the politcs so often touted in positive reviews. Something so vehement that people have spent hours in thier life going through and tagging reviews as unhelpfull that did not like this CD. I saw a few go from the majority helpfull ratings to unhelpfull in a span of two weeks. Too much of a change to be a coincidence. APC doesn’t need the money and tricking somebody into buying this isn’t going to do anything but make a record company a little richer. Give your money to Greenpeace or other activists rather than tout bad music as good. There are lots of other protest songs out there. Ones that don’t hurt the ears when played. Go buy one of those. Don’t waste money on this CD. I first heard Tool around 96. Bought thier CD imediately. Been a fan since. Was a fan of APC. Might even buy thier next release but not without listening to it first. I feel betrayed they’d put this out with APC attached to it. If they want to protest something thats fine. Just do it with real effort, not this slop.

    Posted on March 3, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Nowadays, if you’re a celebrity, there are really two ways you can protest a war or government. You can either do what one Fred Durst did, and make a holy fool of yourself by grabbing the mic at an awards show and saying to the crowd “I hope we’re all in agreeance that this war should go away”; or plan b) you can make a protest album. Maynard James Keenan and his side project, A Perfect Circle, have a little intelligence on their side, so they chose the latter option. “Emotive,” APC’s third release, is a protest/covers album; it covers everything from John Lennon (“Imagine”) to Depeche Mode (“People Are People”) to Black Flag (“Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie”). Plus, there are two original songs (tracks which aren’t covers). Track five, “Passive,” is actually a remake of a song written by Keenan and Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, and “Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums” (catchy title, huh?) is, contrary to popular belief, not a remix of the song “Pet” (which appeared on A Perfect Circle’s last album, “13th Step”). Rather, this song is a continuation/second part of “Pet.”

    Some fans think that “Emotive” isn’t an anti-war album, because of comments made by Maynard before the album’s release. But, with lyrics like “war is not the answer” (in “What’s Going On,” a song originally done by Marvin Gaye), it’s hard to believe there isn’t an underlying political or anti-war message, here.

    Almost every song on here is moving and touching. “Emotive,” as a whole, is very depressing, but it’s also very pretty. Plus, some of the songs (like “Imagine” and “Passive”) are even kind of catchy.

    The album begins with “Annihilation,” which has very creepy, almost bonechilling whispers about power. The next song, “Imagine,” is the single. It has some funeral-like piano playing, occasional string plucking, and a rhythmic drum beat; but it’s mainly catchy because of Maynard’s vocal style. Tracks three and eleven, (“What’s So Funny `Bout) Peace Love and Understanding” and “When The Levee Breaks,” find Maynard singing in a clear, limpid, feminine, almost falsetto tone. Plus, the former track is very atmospheric, with reverberating piano keys, a violin, and a resonating drum beat.

    Elsewhere, “What’s Going On” has very spacey singing with humming, almost static-y synthesizers; “Passive” is rather up-tempo and fast; and the album closer, “Fiddle and the Drum,” is almost breathtaking (with nasal, a capella singing).

    “Emotive” doesn’t raise the bar for Maynard or A Perfect Circle, so it’s understandable that some fans would be quite disappointed by this album. Plus, if you think a protest album should uplift the listener’s spirits and give you a feeling of empowerment, you’ll definitely not have any luck with this C.D.. But if you’re an anti-war Maynard aficionado who’s looking for some peace love and understanding, or if you just want a C.D. that’s very calming and soothing, look no further.

    Posted on March 3, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now