Serj Tankian: Imperfect Harmonies

Serj Tankian: Imperfect Harmonies

With Chinese Democracy now a reality, hard rock fans can look to a System Of A Down reunion as their new great lost cause. Since its hiatus began in 2006, the band has essentially split in two: Daron Malakian and John Dolmayan have formed the lamentable Scars On Broadway, while Serj Tankian has undertaken an unpredictable, yet often rewarding, solo career. His newest album, the sprawling, almost painfully eclectic Imperfect Harmonies, is ambitious to a fault: It seems like there’s nothing Tankian doesn’t want to accomplish in the space of a single album (except, unfortunately for his old-school fans, a return to anything resembling metal). While he still brings it hard on the impressive debut single, “Left Of Center,” the rest of the album is all over the place: “Disowned, Inc.” has strong elements of acid jazz and chamber pop; “Electron” sounds like ’90s industrial techno; and the unfortunately titled “Peace Be Revenged” wouldn’t sound completely out of place on a Midnight Oil record. The one constant is Tankian’s theatrical, captivating, always-impressive singing, which carries every song through even the occasional clunky lyric. It’s hard to know what to make of a record like Imperfect Harmonies; it seems like it’s trying to cram everything Tankian knows about music into an hour. While this can yield good results—and there are some great songs here, no question—overall, it sounds like the work of someone who hasn’t figured out where to focus his attention.

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