Album Review by Alex Moore
Since its revival several years ago after rising from the ashes of a Mr. Show sketch, Puscifer has, perhaps unfairly, been widely disregarded as Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan’s “other” project. While many found the electronic outfit’s debut album, “V” Is for Vagina, hit-and-miss at best, the group have come into their own over the past few years, particularly with the 2011 release of Puscifer’s most well-rounded album to date, Conditions of My Parole. Now, nearly two years after the record’s release, the group have released a track-for-track remix album, All Re-Mixed Up, featuring an array of guests from punk rockers Five Knives to Sir Mix-A-Lot. The result is a mixed bag, offering a few gems scattered amongst ultimately forgettable tracks.
One of the best tracks comes from Puscifer co-vocalist Carina Round. Her contribution, “Telling Ghosts (Giorgia O’Queef Mix),” is perhaps the most re-arranged and altered. Keenan’s lush vocals now take a backseat to the instrumentals, creating a haunting and atmospheric tone that give the song new life and tone. Josh Eustis’ additions offer some interesting ideas, but morph into something reminiscent of Daft Punk lite and drag on a bit too long. The same can unfortunately be said about Zac Rae and Aaron Harris’ offerings, which, while creative and complex, outstay their welcome. All Re-Mixed Up can’t be discussed without mentioning the collaboration with Sir Mix-A-Lot, as, on paper, there’s little reason the track should work. However, the rapper’s “Conditions of My Parole (F.U.B.A.R. Remix)” succeeds big time. The addition of extra guitars and change of tempo make the song an upbeat and fun album highlight alongside Carina Round’s ethereal piece.
While its execution is a bit sloppy and the record’s merit can and will be debated by preexisting fans, the very concept of All Re-Mixed Up fits perfectly with the band’s mission to act as a creative playground of experimentation. There is little middle ground here; tracks either completely bomb or succeed swimmingly. Ultimately, consumers may be better off previewing tracks before committing to a purchase. For those still on the fence about Puscifer, All Re-Mixed Up won’t change your mind. Your best bet may be to look elsewhere, perhaps even at the superior source material, Parole, itself.