Review Summary: W is for Win.
Maynard is a man of many hats. From the cult progressive band Tool, to the alternative rock supergroup A Perfect Circle, Maynard has lent his voice and talent to many successful records. In comes Puscifer, Maynard's self proclaimed " island of misfit ideas," where he invites an army of guest musicians to collaborate on his wacky ideas. Up to this point Puscifer has been seen as more of a silly side project than a serious music effort. Puscifer's debut album V is For Vagina
was a sex-ridden jumble of many ideas sometimes hitting, but missing more often than not. However, the songs that did hit displayed that the project has potential for being great. Maynard called in more guests to remix this debut, which spawned the Lustmord album [i]D is for Dubby[i] and a complete remix album entitled V is for Viagra
. Yet again, the great songs remained great, and the others-- well... not so great. Which brings us to Maynard's latest foray into solo obscurity, C is for (Insert Sophomoric Genitalia Reference HERE)
. Looking at the title and the laughable album art one might expect F is for FAIL!
, but instead we are welcomed to W is for WIN!
C is For...
is only six tracks and thirty minutes long, but each song trumps all of Puscifer's previous work twice over. Right from the start it is blatantly apparent that Maynard is taking a new direction with his project. 'Polar Bear' starts off smoothly with a key melody and drums underlying a reverberated Maynard. Halfway through the song bursts into an industrial jam which sounds just like (insert famous industrial band HERE), the difference here is Maynard's smooth as ice vocals. 'The Mission (M is for Milla Mix)' takes a different turn, bringing back the sex tinged themes of V is For Vagina
, but the focus here is Milla Jovovich's raspy voice singing out verses as Maynard comes in for the choruses only. Don't be fooled by the 'mix' tag on this song, as the only change from the original version is Danny Lohner's programming. The next two songs are live versions of two favorites off the debut, 'Momma Sed' and 'Vagina Mine.' If the songs hadn't been explicitly labeled as 'live' the listener would have been surprised to know that it is in fact a live recording; the production is that good. 'Momma Sed (Alive at Club Nokia)' is hands down the best song to come out of the Puscifer name. While the original song was possibly the best song on V is for Vagina
, this live version is even better. Slow acoustic guitar rings out a familiar melody as Maynard soars over it, showing off his impressive vocal range in the process. Three minutes into the song drums appear, one drummer in each channel, as Maynard repeats "This change will pass away," giving away the song to a dueling drum solo between Tim Alexander (Primus) and Gil Sharone (ex-Dillinger Escape Plan). An explosion of percussion forms while the guitar warps to a point where it barely sounds like a guitar anymore, ripping a tasteful solo over the drummers. The song recalls the live version of 'Pu***' off Tool's Salival
CD/DVD, as they both went a complete transformation for the live setting, follow a slow-to-climax progression that works so very well. 'Vagina Mine (Alive at Club Nokia)' is another winner. Barely decipherable from the original recording, bass and drum bang out a militaristic jam as Maynard, Juliette Commagere and Carina Round harmonize lyrics together. Growing faster by the minute, the song comes to a huge crescendo of bass and dueling drums between Time and Jeff Friedl (Ashes Divide). Both of these live tracks are superb, taking the original tracks and twisting them into a completely new light.
A very Nine Inch Nails-esque synth line booms out of 'Potions (Deliverance Mix), which makes sense because Mr. Reznor is credited to songwriting for this track. There is only one word to describe this track: sexy. The same synth beat drags through the entire song, only letting up for the chorus as banjo and mandolin chime in as Maynard sings out the high notes. The track ends on an extended instrumental, a technique Reznor has shown much love for in the past. The final song on the album may be Maynard's most emotional track he has ever composed. Sounding like the twin to 'Momma Sed,' the track starts off entirely on acoustic guitar and occasional drums booming in the background. For the second verse Maynard's son Devo joins his father singing out tearjerking lyrics. Violins join in as Tim bangs out a tasteful solo bringing the album to an end on a beautiful climax.
Maynard has put together a collection of six songs that is his best work to date under the Puscifer name. From beginning to end the album is near-perfect. Every song is a hit, including the excellent live tracks and the two remixes. If C is For...
is any indication to where Puscifer will be in the future, then the future looks very bright. However, nothing the man has done thus far has been predictable, so my money is on A is for Anal
for the next record.