I was pretty psyched about this album, being a huge Serj fan and I wasn’t let down. Serj described it as electro-orchestral-jazz-rock and that is what it is. The album is very orchestral while keeping a heavy rock feel.
My favorite thing about Imperfect Harmonies is the diverse instrumentation. There are typical rock instruments (guitar, bass, and drums) along with orchestral instruments (strings, brass, woodwind, etc), sitars, accordions, synthesizers/drum machines, and of course, piano. This album has a lot of layers, so if you’re fond of music with a simple layout, this might not be your cup of tea. I love this kind of music because there’s so much complexity, you can listen to it a hundred times and still notice something new.
It was difficult for me to choose a favorite song because the album as a whole progresses in a way where the songs weave together while having a completely different feel. The song that I’m drawn to the most at this point is Deserving, which starts out with an acoustic guitar riff accented with the cold, low buzz of a contrabass. You can also hear Serj in the background saying something, but I have yet to decipher what he’s saying. After the intro, a subtle use of synth-bass greets Serj’s vocals. The chorus has this slightly-upbeat, techno (UHN-TSS-UHN-TSS) feel which juxtaposes the rest of the song.
As much as I approve of the music on this album, I do have a few non-music related griefs. One of them is the album art; while it bears a message and was intricately put together, I enjoy album art that is a little more abstract (I guess I should mention that I still buy CDs. I believe owning a physical copy is much more safe and rewarding than iTunes). Another thing is, I bought the Best Buy exclusive version which came with an extra DVD of one of Serj’s performances for the Elect the Dead tour a few years ago. The performance itself was amazing, but it was censored for reasons I don’t understand. There weren’t many swears during the performance (I believe the number was 4) but it’s really the principle of the matter; you don’t include an edited DVD on an unedited CD.
So to wrap things up, Imperfect Harmonies is very imaginative musical journey and although it is not necessarily a concept album, the songs all weave together and a large theme throughout the album is heartbreak, and how we as humans have lost touch with nature to the point where we think we’re higher and more divine than the land that owns us…..duuude.
Also, if edited/censored material pisses you off as much as me, don’t get the Best Buy exclusive version because the DVD is censored.