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Keep Telling Myself It's Alright

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Album Review

As could be expected for one of the founding members of A Perfect Circle, Billy Howerdel's debut album, Keep Telling Myself It's Alright, is a suitably ambitious and artistic work that mixes pensive lyrics with equally melancholy melodies. Unfortunately, it is also a decidedly hit or miss affair, alternating between aggression and melancholy in a mix that doesn't always work. The lack of cohesion makes it feel as though Howerdel is reaching for something undefined with this album, but he doesn't quite make it there. Instead, he settles comfortably into a brooding, moody sound that is indebted to his former project by way of grinding guitars and anguished vocals, but does more to showcase his musical skills instead of a sense of emotion or depth. Not that this is an entirely bad thing — though he does employ the help of guest musicians on a few songs, Howerdel sings and plays nearly all the instruments on Keep Telling Myself It's Alright, and while there aren't any virtuoso performances, his ability to create such an atmospheric work is impressive. This talent is at its strongest on "The Stone," where Howerdel juxtaposes pensive verses with an impassioned chorus and powerful (but not overwhelming) guitar riffs. Given that, it's a mystery as to why the song appears so late in the album preceded by the likes of the bland "Defamed" or overeager "Enemies." By relegating his more powerful pieces to the back of Keep Telling Myself It's Alright in favor of more inconsistent opening tracks, Howerdel makes the entire album feel somewhat shallow and emotionally static. Instead of exploring new territory, he seems content in revisiting old successes.

Biography

Formed: 2007

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

A one-man band of sorts, Ashes Divide was the next step in the career of former lighting technician and guitar roadie Billy Howerdel. Howerdel, who was raised in New Jersey, first got his start in the music and touring world by working in lighting before moving into the role of guitar tech for Fishbone. While touring with Fishbone and Tool in France, Howerdel struck up a friendship with Tool vocalist Maynard Keenan, which in turn led to the formation of popular mood-metal act A Perfect Circle. With...
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Keep Telling Myself It's Alright, Ashes Divide
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