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A hit for your G-spot

Puscifer - V is for Vagina
(2007 Puscifer Entertainment)
3 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Nov. 19, 2007

Review by Wade Vonasek

Maynard James Keenan is somewhat of an eccentric, best known for his main gig as the vocalist of Tool, but also as a member of A Perfect Circle, as the winemaker behind Merkin Vineyards and Caduceus Cellars, and as the main man behind Puscifer, a clothing line and a musical group of which Keenan is the creative force, with help from other artists. According to Wikipedia, Keenan describes Puscifer as "simply a playground for the various voices in my head," "a space with no clear or discernible goals" and "where my Id, Ego, and Anima all come together to exchange cookie recipes."

V is for Vagina is the first full-length album from Puscifer, and for the most part, strays pretty far from both Tool and A Perfect Circle. The disc has a vague Nine Inch Nails feel to it, which could be partially attributed to the appearance of NIN-alum Danny Lohner. Other musicians contributing include Tim Alexander (Primus), and Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk (Rage Against the Machine). Keenan's vocals are delivered low and dark, sometimes Marilyn Manson-esque, with a heavy, thick drumbeat present on most tracks.

On the upside: "Queen B" is an atmospheric piece, but with lyrics that are not, and features a super-catchy "ohhhhh" background vocal; "Undertaker" is intense, hypnotic and still rocks; "Trekka" sounds like a soundtrack from a suspense-murder flick; and "Indigo Children," sucks you in with its repetitive feel and Keenan's deep, bellowing vocals that sound like they came straight from Satan's diaphragm.

The album has a moody, cold vibe. Background vocals are used to positive results in many of the songs, blending into the sonic landscape and sometimes not completely noticeable unless one really picks them out, almost like another instrument.

On the downside: "Sour Grapes" has Keenan doing a televangelical rap that may be an artistic statement, but musically is just not that pleasing. And if there were any other criticism, it would be that many of the songs don't differentiate themselves from each other significantly. On one hand, it gives the album an overall identity, but on the other, it can also bore the listener.

I'm viewing this album as an art piece. I'm guessing that Keenan just did whatever the hell he wanted, which I guess is true art, and a trait that he has displayed his whole career. He released it on his own label, which further justifies this theory. Those looking for another Tool or A Perfect Circle album will be disappointed. But for those wanting to experience something different from a truly imaginative artist, V is for Vagina will definitely hit your G-spot.

Watch Puscifer - "Undertaker"

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