A Perfect Circle's eMOTIVe
is the angriest chill-out album since Nine Inch Nails' The Downward Spiral
. Inspired by current events, this side project from Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan covers classic songs of uprising, greed, and protest, and in a detached manner that's mostly a welcome departure. Black Flag's "Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie," one of the liveliest tracks, is a music-box waltz accompanied by Keenan's froth-spewing snarl. "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding," meanwhile, written by Nick Lowe and made famous by Elvis Costello, here is downgraded from an indictment to a rhetorical question, as is Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On." Fear's "Let's Have a War" gets closer to the heart of the matter, hinting at a military-industrial complex and expendable demographics.
Subversive typography notwithstanding, eMOTIVe creates an ominous mood of menacing quiet, combining string arrangements, electro beats, and piano loops into a coherent downtempo disc. Though many of the tracks are unplugged, this is a Perfect Circle's most electric effort to date.