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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.
Performance CreditsAshes Divide Primary Artist
Josh Freese Drums
Billy Howerdel Vocals
Devo Keenan Cello
Dean Sainz Drums
Technical CreditsJohnette Napolitano Composer,Vocal Producer
J. Peter Robinson Art Direction
Danny Lohner Programming,Producer
Doug Joswick Package Production
Arthur Spivak Management
Matt Skiba Vocal Producer
Billy Howerdel Composer,Producer,Engineer,Art Direction,Instrumentation
Paz Lenchantin Composer
Paul Resta Marketing
Kevin Llewellyn Artwork,Art Direction
Eric Pascavage Management
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The first 8 tracks are pretty dull and boring. The songs are very forgettable and not intriguing to the listener. It's just a very lifeless album.
Billy Howerdel found a way to make good music without Maynard James Keenen. However, Ashes Divide isn't as good as A Perfect Circle, but they are still better than anyone else played on the radio. The only thing that disappoints me about Ashes Divide is that they are touring with the talentless Linkin Park.