Puscifer's 'Donkey Punch The Night' – EP Review - OurVinyl
puscifer donkey punch the night review

Puscifer’s ‘Donkey Punch The Night’ – EP Review

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Behold fans of Maynard James Keenan, Carina Round and all of the eclectic members of Keenan’s pet side project, Puscifer, for within your grasp is the brand new EP, “Donkey Punch The Night”. The sixth release from the group since their inception in back in 2007.

puscifer donkey punch the night reviewFans of Tool or A Perfect Circle; savor this release while you can, because this may be the closest to new music you may get from Keenan this year. In a recent interview with Chile’s Radio Futuro, Keenan apparently stated that Tool will not be releasing a new album in 2013. He also shot down any hopes for a future APC release too. But enough of the history and news, let’s talk about ‘Donkey Punch The Night’.

The EP features some of the same line-up as the previous release, “Conditions of My Parole”, which include Keenan on vocals, Carina Round on vocals and guitar, Mat Mitchell on bass, guitar and programming, Juliette Commagere on additional vocals, Josh Eustis on guitar and piano, Matt McJunkins on bass, and Jeff Friedl on drums and percussion. As well as guest musicians Zac Rae on piano, Josh Morreau, on bass and Claire Acey on vocals. It seems that a more cohesive line up for the band is beginning to take shape. Which leads quite a few to speculate that Keenan will put more energy into the side project than in his other projects as time goes on.

Now, the EP itself only contains seven tracks all together. Of those seven, you have two cover songs, two new songs, and three remix tracks. So how do you start off a masterpiece in grand fashion? Well, in Puscifer’s case they chose to kick things off with their take on Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. And the result is magic. Truly, it is a phenomenal cover, the kind of song that really reminds you, Keenan really has a delicate and almost ethereal singing voice, and when pairing his voice with Carina Round, they blend together in an exquisite manner that you really want to hear more of.  And that is a fact that cannot just be heard on the “Rhapsody” cover, but on all of the album tracks.

The first original track, “Breathe” starts up with a very electronic feel, before edging down to a more delicate and intimate feel and tends to bounce between these two main styles. And again, the light, melodic voice of Round plays well against the sometimes harsh and rougher sounding Keenan on this track. Almost a very emotional and sexual sounding track, it is definitely one of the best tracks on the release.

Puscifer’s ‘Breathe’

As for the other new track on the album, “Dear Brother”, fans of Tool should really dig this track. It has a sound that is very similar to a hybrid of Tool and APC, with a blend of the ever developing and growing Puscifer sound. But it’s not just the sound that makes the track special. It’s also a track about loss, a track that is dedicated to several people who have passed that the band was close to or inspired by, like Adam Yaunch from the Beastie Boys, friend of Puscifer, Edward Willie, Jr. from Uncle Scratch’s Gospel Revival (they’re a band who opened up for them on their last tour) out of Ohio in the area where Keenan was born, and lastly Ray Beckwith, an Australian winemaker whom Maynard credits with his love for Australian wines.

puscifer donkey punch the night reviewThe final new song on the EP, is the cover of Accept’s “Balls to the Wall”. Originally it’s a boot stomping, all out metal tune done back in the 1980’s when the leather, spandex and hairspray flowed freely, but Keenan puts an amazing spin on it. He takes the song, and really makes it his own. Now it sounds like something from the other spectrum of the 80’s, as though Jan Hammer would have written it specifically for an episode of “Miami Vice”. Which, as strange as that may sound, it makes for an interesting mixture and probably this reviewer’s favorite track on the EP.

The remixes are what you would expect as remixes go, “Breathe” by Drumcell and “Dear Brother” by Denton, are both incredibly good interpretations and as for the ‘remix’ of “Balls to the Wall” by Silent Servant, well ‘remix’ is a word used loosely, seeing as it’s really just a loop that repeats for about 3 and a half minutes, neither bad nor good, just sort of there.

As for what the band is up to, well after the release of the EP, they are taking their strange little act to the road, Australia for the month of February, Brazil in March, Chile in April and two dates in Indio, California with appearances at Coachella. For details on the album, which will be released digitally, in addition to CD and Vinyl, log on to https://store.puscifer.com/frameset.html or you can check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PusciferMusic

Written by Christina Lawler

OurVinyl | Contributor