Serj Tankian – Perplex Cities (EP Review)

Serj Tankian – Perplex Cities (EP Review)

From his success as the lead voice of System of a Down to his solo work, Serj Tankian is an artist like no other. Known for powerful, politically driven lyrics and unique vocals, Tankian’s style is so extremely complex and almost always immediately sticks out. Creating music for thirty years now, Tankian is still going strong and returns in 2022 with his new EP, Perplex Cities.

Released on October 21st via his own label Serjical Strike, Perplex Cities is Tankian’s second EP in the last couple of years; the other beginning the impressive Elasticity from 2021. With Perplex Cities he offers five new songs that round out at just over sixteen minutes. Short but no less potent, each track is distinct from the other. Almost creating their own little universe in their brief play time, each all seem connected somehow as well.

It all started with the odd “Pop Imperialism” where Electronica meets Rock. Hypnotizing and somehow soothing, the whispering that accompanies the vocals here and there add a creepy touch, making for an interesting trip that requires multiple listens.  Then “The Race” is a more smooth, slow offering with insane arrangements and lyrics that are meditative. All killer and no filler, and last over four minutes, you have just enough time to sink your teeth into it. This is while “I Spoke Up” almost sounds like an oriental prayer, chanting of a native tribe, or monks echoing in a monastery. Whatever it is, it is mystical and the story Tankian tells is worth paying attention to. 

Concluding the EP the obscure, repetitive “Rumi Loves His Cars” where Tankian’s adds much character with different vocal inflections before “Forgive Me Father” dishes out catchy guitar riffs. An off kilter ending, it is all effective and very much Serj Tankian. 

As always, listening to the music of Serj Tankian is an adventure. He is a mastermind of complexity and Perplex Cities reveals different colors with each passing listen. That is why Cryptic Rock gives this EP 5 out of 5 stars. 

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Nina Mende
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