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Perfect Circle | Mer De Noms | review | rock | Lollipop

A Perfect Circle

Mer De Noms (Virgin)
by Scott Hefflon

By now, hopefully it's pretty obvious that A Perfect Circle is a great modern rock band. If the name doesn't at least make ya ask, "That's the supergroup with the guy from Tool singin', right?," well, it seems the rock you live beneath is bigger than the rock of ages... A Perfect Circle is the musical and philosophical union of a group of well-established, very talented musicians, all doing what they do best and pushing themselves to do better. While anyone familiar with Tool will pick up on Maynard's soulful, moody vocals, there's a rich, flowing vibe, and some musiciany technical differences that let ya know this ain't a Tool record. Not that there's anything wrong with a Tool record...

For anyone who's tired of "rock" that's really low-talent emo or nü metal looking to expand their audience, A Perfect Circle is a refreshing reminder of rock as the creative synthesis of passionate players coming together, hitting it off, and recording a beautiful, whole record. While sure, there's a single making its rounds, Mer de Noms (French for "sea of names") is an album like ya just don't hear much anymore. It's complete, thorough, and consistently inventive from start to finish without being a couple singles followed by filler or a directionless ego-trip during a band's down time. This is a concept album in as much as it's all about the dynamics of the members coming together, building on each other's ideas, and recording in a way different than they're used to. So while subtle, the differences are real if you know what to look for.

On the whole, these 45 minutes are colorful and active (more swaying/grooving than fist-banging), a great record to play from end to end while hanging out. It won't make you drive too fast or contemplate slitting your wrists because it hangs with you, without pushing you to extremes. It's a thoughtful, moving record that might become dull for the easily-distracted, but most things really worth getting aren't just handed to you.


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