Christina Caldwell

Serj Tankian
Imperfect Harmonies
(Reprise/Serjical Strike)
Grade: B+

When System of a Down burst onto the music scene in 1994, it was
the ethnic intensity and falsetto of frontman Serj Tankian that set
the band apart from other alt-prog bands of the time. Sixteen years
later, the Armenian singer still has a flair for the dramatic, minus
the pent up aggression of his band.

But don't mistake it as an ethnic record. Imperfect Harmonies,
Tankian's second solo release, is rife with Middle Eastern influences,
but also takes a full orchestra, jazz and System of a Down's trademark
chaotic rock into account. Its layered, intricate sound mixes with
Tankian's demanding, almost historical vocals that come from a period
before western music dominated the world.

Surprisingly, Imperfect Harmonies' best moments come toward the end of
the album on "Left of Center," a political cry that's an epic Muse jam
that meets the Sahara Desert. Closer "Wings of Summer" is beautified
by Bitter:Sweet vocalist Shana Halligan's soft backup vocals, which
add another dimension to Tankian's old world goodness.

From: A. Papazian