Exhilarating and captivating
Rock band A Perfect Circle’s guitarist, Billy Howerdel, debuts his solo album What Normal Was on June 10th. It is quite clear that Howerdel’s sole inspiration for this solo project is his life-long love of music as he takes fans on a journey through his early musical influences. The 10-track album is more focused on electronic rather than guitars as seen in previous work, centralizing on synthesizers and bass for heavier tones. What Normal Was is an impressively-composed album, perfectly connecting Howerdel’s early musical passions such as ‘80s rock-and-roll and past music projects.
What Normal Was kicks off with slow starting electronic beats of “Selfish Hearts.” It appears as though Howerdel channeled a bit of David Bowie when composing this track. The eerie synth and heavy bass climax with the drum beat towards the end of the song, luring listeners into the next track. “Free And Weightless” carries intoxicating free spirit energy and brings to mind Bob Moses’ The Silence in Between.
Howerdel pre-released the single “Poison Flowers” as a teaser for the album. This airy, progressive rock single captures Howerdel’s musical influences such as Pink Floyd, The Cure and the Banshees. The six-minute track is one of the gloomiest ones on the record. It is a bit difficult to tell apart the guitar from the synthesizer, but the heavy bass is extraordinarily exhilarating.
Fans might recognize “Stars” as it is the oldest track on the record. Howerdel has performed the song live several times, just in a different form. Howerdel greatly improved the track by adding heavy drums, doom synths and more tweaks recreating the track. Other tracks that stand out are “Bring Honor Back Home” and “EXP” which include the most guitar and are the softer rock tracks compared to the rest of the album.
Billy Howerdel has gifted fans a perfect album for summer parties. What Normal Was is an exceptional record combining iconic ‘80s music with modern electronic beats to create a dynamic dance floor playlist. Following the release of the album, Howerdel will also conduct a 28-date North American tour in support of the record. The tour includes special guest appearances by Puscifer on selected dates. For more information on the album What Normal Was or Billy Howerdel’s solo tour dates visit Billyhowerdel.com.