A Perfect Circle’s latest not what you’d expect

I had been eagerly awaiting “Eat the Elephant,” the long-overdue third full studio album from A Perfect Circle, the heavy-rock act fronted by Maynard James Keenan (Tool) but also featuring guitarist James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins).

After all, it’s been a spell since “Thirteenth Step” in 2003, the follow-up to the band’s excellent debut in 2000, “Mer de Noms.”

Released April 20, “Eat the Elephant” is ….. good, but maybe not what you’d expect. One of the terms Apple Music uses to describe it is “post-rock.” And with its strings, piano and other components, it does sound like something that is, in fact, coming AFTER the version of A Perfect Circle we have known.

Since it dropped weeks ago, I’ve been rocking out to the angry single “The Doomed,” and I find the thoughtful opening title track — with its relatable theme of not knowing how to start on a big endeavor — quite compelling.

I hope I come to like closing track “Get the Lead Out,” but early on it keeps the album concluding with the thud of a lead balloon. Ultimately, though, I don’t see how I’ll stop listening to this album anytime soon.

Mark Meszoros is likely streaming his favorites as you read this.

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