Published Oct 28, 2015Driving his devotees nearer to the point of insanity each passing day sans new music from Tool and A Perfect Circle, Maynard James Keenan has long been rewarding the more patient members of his fan base with his work as Puscifer. Much more than a side project, the third prominent extension of Keenan's musical brain has gone from demonstrating a penchant for lewd record titles and countless remixes to becoming a well-rounded outlet for what he calls "the voices in my head," dabbling in everything from alt-country to electronic.
Since 2011's Conditions of My Parole, these voices have seemingly become calmer, making Money Shot less of a varied collection in comparison to its predecessor. Rarely straying from their alt-rock leanings this time around, this new focus at times comes at the cost of more inventive compositions, particularly on the tracks that stretch past the six-minute mark. However, a notable improvement is the increased presence of vocalist Carina Round, a perfect fit to complement Keenan's solo sections or sing harmonies. She particularly shines on "Agostina" and "Autumn."
Still, the desert-weary feel that these songs hold, undoubtedly stirred up by Keenan's home state of Arizona, is very much present — look no further than the bare bones "Smoke and Mirrors" and the forceful outlaw wit of "The Remedy." This intangible is perhaps best displayed on "Grand Canyon" through the echoing vocals, guitars and lyrics concerned with personal insignificance when "standing on the edge of forever." Forever may be too long to wait for Keenan's other work, but it would be wrong to say Money Shot is any less rewarding. (Puscifer Entertainment)