Conditions of My Parole is the second full length studio album from Puscifer, a side project by Tool/A Perfect Circle frontman Maynard James Keenan. This album changes direction and deviates from Puscifer’s debut, “V” is for Vagina, but leaves some of the elements still intact.
To put this album into a single genre is damn near impossible. Conditions of My Parole dishes out electronic sounds blended with rock with a taste of the American Southwest all rolled into a single album.
- “Tiny Monsters” – The opening track to the album is serene and synthesized. Maynard’s voice is harmonized and calming in this song. The song has a definite 80s influence to it layered with a calm guitar riff and electronic drumming. I rate it 4.5/5.
- “Green Valley” – This is one of the most haunting and eerie songs on the album, and probably my favorite on the whole album. The lyrics are colorful, vivid, and compelling. The song opens with a calm and soothing guitar, but then from out of nowhere distortion makes its way, as does a heavy drum beat, all while the vocals remain constant. 5/5
- “Monsoons” – A very soft and calming song, much like the calm after a storm. This song provides a peaceful and harmonious segue to the next song. 4/5
- “Telling Ghosts” – The song opens with a two note arpeggio synonymous with the American Southwest, but is quickly drowned by some of the heaviest chorus on the album (at least so far). I can *almost* hear minute traces of Tool in this song, though it may be a stretch. 4.25/5
- “Horizons” – By the time I made it to this song, I realized that each song stands on its own and predicting what I am going to hear next would be a challenge. “Horizons” is another calmer song with very syncopated drumming and mellow sounds. 4.5/5
- “Man Overboard” – When I first heard this song, this is what I expected the whole album to sound like, as this was the first offering from the new album. The lyrics paint a beautiful picture of being on a ship while a storm brews. Pretty badass track overall and one of the heavier songs on the album. 4.75/5
- “Toma” – I love how this song opens with a primal, almost demonic voice shouting “Toma!” This song is laced with distorted bass, heavy drumming, and vocals that remind me of songs from previous Puscifer releases. A seemingly industrial sound mixed with a hint of the Southwest. 4.25/5
- “The Rapture (Fear Is a Mind Killa Mix)” – At first, I thought that this song wouldn’t be a good fit for the album, but as the song progresses, it meshes well with the rest of the album. It reminds me of “Toma” in terms of musical elements, but with a slower tempo. 4.5/5
- “Conditions of My Parole” – If there’s one song other than “Green Valley” on this album, this one is definitely it. The title track opens up with a Southern style acoustic riff and Maynard’s vocals have a Southern swagger associated with them. This song is a great contemporized take on Southern elements of rock mixed with that Puscifer touch. 5/5
- “The Weaver” – When I listen to this song, I think of wandering the desert and staring at an Anasazi painted sky; a tribal feeling almost or something spiritual. Very beautiful song. 4.75/5
- “Oceans” – Probably one of my lesser favorites from the album, but still soothing nonetheless. The song just seemed a little flat to me, with nothing climactic. 3.75/5
- “Tumbleweed” – The opening banjo immediately reminds me of the Old West and tumbleweed. The female vocals are very convincing and I think are better suited for this song. I feel a longing for someone to return from far away when I listen to this song. 4.75/5
Overall, I definitely recommend giving this album a listen. I’ve always been a fan of Maynard James Keenan as a musician, no matter the genre of music he decides to work with. It takes a brave musician to explore other avenues of music, instead of being typecast to the same genre working with the same effects and same ethos.
The album was released today, for those of you with Spotify, you can listen to the album now.
“Green Valley” was previously picked as part of our Handpicked: Song of the Day series. Listen to Green Valley on Electric Mohawk.